PREVENTING YOUR CHILD FROM BEING A CRIMINAL

The transition phase between childhood and adulthood comes with a tendency for a child to derail. The making of an adult as a criminal does not start when he or she is an adult. It begins when the individual was a child.

There are some life processes that would have built up at the initial stage of life, which would make the individual a criminal when he or she is of age.

These choices come with some high-risk behaviors which have the possibility to form adult characters, and they have implications which would certainly be detrimental to themselves and the society.

To begin with, children need to be protected from unwarranted sexual activities.

At this stage of their lives, indulging in sexual activities is not good for them, and parents need to see to it that, their children are protected from this.

Children are highly exposed to several things, the media being one of the strongest medium, and there is a chance they would want to emulate what they see there.

So, it is important for parents to be careful of what their children see. They might not be with them at all times, but it is important to have an idea of what their children do.

Some children who are not properly monitored can grow up to be sex workers, who are sometimes referred to as prostitutes.

In addition to this, parents need to be very careful so that their children do not end up as drug or alcohol addicts. This is one of the reasons why there is an increase in social vices in almost every nation.

People who abuse drugs and alcohol are more likely to indulge in criminal activities than other people who do not. 

Children who are born to families that are low-income have a tendency to not receive proper training and formal education.

So, there is a possibility that they would not do well academically, and even drop out and imbibe a high risk behavior.

PURPOSE OF A JUVENILE HOME

A Juvenile home is commonly referred to as Juvie, and it is a place for people who are regarded as minority. People in this category are usually teenagers found guilty of committing an offence.

However, they are not qualified to take the same punishment as older adults would. So, what the court would do in this case, is to send them to a Juvenile home.

Sometimes, a Juvenile home is often called a correctional facility, and they are sent here for the purpose of character reformation and the inculcation of good habits which would make them useful to the society.

The court system for Juveniles is however quite different conventional court system.

The Juvenile home places focus on providing help to young children and teenagers.

They act in their best interest, and they do not take the crime committee into consideration. Rather, they use this platform to provide assistance and training to ensure that they stop criminal acts.

On a normal basis, the court does not charge juveniles, as a normal court process would. Rather, the motive is to provide reorientation for them.

Punishing a Juvenile for a crime would deter from the main purpose of a Juvenile home.

A Juvenile court comes with a more informal process, than when contrasted with a conventional court process.

If a Juvenile is pronounced guilty of an offence committed, then the person is placed under adjudication which is a form of hearing.

This is often confidential, so that the ability of the Juvenile to be integrated into the society properly, would not be affected.

This is different from a regular criminal court in which the public and juries are present to hear the case. Then what the judge does is, listen to the evidences presented in court.

There are other related forms of punishment that the juvenile would be required to perform. It could be a detention center, compulsory counseling, community service and the likes.

There are a variety of options that Juvenile court judges select from a range of legal options, so that the safety requirements of the public are met.

WHY THE CHILD SHOULD NOT BE NEGLECTED

Children are unarguably the loveliest set of persons to grace this Earth.

Hence, it is important that they are treated with ample care and affection, so that they can grow up to be individuals that the society can be proud of.

If you observe closely, a good number of people who live rough lives as adults, and engage in all sorts of negative vices, definitely had a bad childhood while growing up.

Parents need to ensure that they do not overlook the welfare of a child. This is the stage where the formation of his entire being takes place, and it is important that parents are actively involved at this phase.

It would be a sorry sight if a child develops a tolerance towards substance abuse without the knowledge of his or her parents. Definitely, that child would be an addict in no time.

Also, parents need to be careful of what they do in the presence of their children. Children pick up things really fast, and since it is coming from someone they trust, their parents, they would most likely imbibe what they see them do.

Hence, parents need to make sure that at all times, they put up behaviors that are worthy of emulation, that their children would grow up with.

In addition to this, parents need to ensure that they do not neglect the nutrition of their child.

For instance, on a general basis, children love sugary foods. However, it is known that too much is dangerous, and it has to be limited.

Hence, it is the responsibility of parents and guardians to dish out the appropriate quantity.

Sugary foods should also not be used as incentives to make them do something. Rather, fruits and enough water should be given to children on a frequent basis.

Next, children should also be thought the idea of exercising, there is no need giving them an in-depth explanation at this phase.

All that is needed, is giving them the basic idea that they will understand. As they age, they would certainly have a better idea.

REASONS WHY ADOLESCENTS GET ADDICTED

It would be hard to come to terms with the fact that a child or teenager would be addicted.

A good number of times, people tend to overlook the fact that adolescents can be addicted, and before they notice, it becomes too late.

In the addiction process, the focus is always on adults and not children, and people seem to forget the fact that, a good number of these adults became addicted at their adolescent age.

This has been an ongoing trend which must be looked into and modified. In the addiction process, everybody should be carried along.

One of the usual causes of addiction in adolescents is inquisitiveness. This is the point of their lives when they want to know how everything works.

In addition, they also want to know the effect of everything they see on their bodies. Judging from what they have seen on Television or the Social Media, they want to have a first-hand experience.

Usually, during the course of all this experimentation, it is done without the supervision of an adult.

There is this fear that is nursed when they want to try something out, so they would rather not involve anyone who is much older than them. They would prefer to involve their peers.  

This is what leads to peer pressure. When adolescents see what their mates are doing, they are often compelled to give it a trial. If they do not, they would not be rated among their peers.

So, they would go ahead not minding if there are detrimental effects attached to this.

If it is substance abuse, the adolescent develops a tolerance for it, and begins taking it on a regular basis. Before you know it, an abuse sets in, and addiction follows shortly.

Without proper monitoring, an adolescent who is addicted, would very likely grow up with this addiction.

Attending to the addiction of adolescents is essential because, it saves us a truckload of adult addiction cases. It is also easier to offer addiction treatment at that age, rather than when they are much older.

WHAT IS AN AT-RISK CHILD

Children have often been labelled as at-risk with a variety of many pointers ranging from having experienced abuse or mistreatment, having disabilities or illness or having exhibited one form of behavioral problems or the other.

Nonetheless, we can define an at-risk child as a child that has a slight probability of positive transition into adulthood. Positive transition could be the ability to be independent and be a positive member of the society avoiding the negative vices such as a life of crime or delinquency.

There are several factors that makes a child being identified as at-risk and these factors influences negatively successful transition into adulthood. For instance, children who come from poverty stricken families often tend to be stigmatized by peers and this in turn spurs some kind of negative responses from them leading to engage in delinquent behaviors and are less likely to have a smooth transition into adulthood.

Research has shown that there is an increased rate of crime, unwanted pregnancies and drop out among the low income families and all these tendencies identifies the children that find themselves in this category at-risk.

Also, we have socio-cultural factors which includes single parenthood, family breakdown, divorce, remarriage and ethnic bias. Children of parents that are divorced, separated or remarried have been place in a state of dejection and neglect which may lead to psychological problems and this in turn encourage them to start displaying bad traits as result of their predicament. As a result, their effective transition into an adult becomes shattered. Many a times, these children are lured into delinquent acts.

Similarly, another reason why children are labelled as at-risk is a result of abuse and violence. Children are often times exposed to physical and sexual abuse which may include torture, rape or even slavery. As a result of conditions such as improper care and support by their parents probably due to breakdown or divorce, the children suffer abuse of different kinds. This prompts negative behavioral responses in the child.

Furthermore, children who suffer from one form of disability or illness or the other are considered at-risk because they tend to have a low self-esteem and disregard of their present state. These children with disabilities are sometimes exposed to maltreatment, bullying and abuse from peers or older ones and this in turn leads to depression and neglect.

TREATMENTS FOR AN AT-RISK YOUTH

ANTIDOTES AND REMEDY

An alarming number of young people are currently under-going severe cases of psychological and emotional problems ranging from dejection, depression, addictions which even involves substance abuse which may result from maltreatment, abuse, bad parenting and this may end up putting the lives of the youths at risk or in danger.

There are a number of interventions that could go a long way in ameliorating this situation which involves programs or means designed to help these young ones in trouble. For example, there are counselling programs which are provided on an individual or group basis. The at-risk youth could go through a mentoring process where there is someone to be accountable to.

Also there are several outreach services for the at-risk youth which gives therapy to youths that have undergone abuse or some sought of depression in one way the other. One of these services include: anger and behavior management classes which helps to curb any form of negative reactions from the troubled youths. Most of the at-risk youths already have a battered identity resulting from the horrible experiences they have gone through, therefore counselling can provide a way of developing their self-esteem.

Similarly, there are chemical health assessments which provides a form of evaluation on the health safety of the at-risk youth probably engaging in drug abuse or any other substance abuse, and this is in turn helps them to be aware of the dangers and effect of taking such substances.

Also, there are programs or intervention services that offer and provide life-skills training to at-risk youths which helps them enhance a proper self-image, character and encourage an attitude to become productive members of the society because too often these youths feel disconnected and rejected from their society and common responses are to act out (anti-social behaviors) or withdraw (chemical abuse leading to mental health issues). Some of the training includes self-esteem, character development, substance abuse prevention, effective communication amongst others.

In addition, in order to change the orientation of these youths at risk and help they see themselves as agent of change in the society is by teaching them to take responsibilities. This can be done by engaging them in social works. Involving the at-risk youth in social works such as taking up volunteer jobs to offer services in public programs can help them channel their energies towards positive options and alternatives.

THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM

A CURE TO JUVENILE DELINQUENCY

In order to prevent youthful perpetrators of crime from experiencing the capital punishment given out by a court of law, and also to encourage rehabilitation of young offenders of the law instead of condemning them to a degree of penalty for their offence, hence a juvenile justice system is set up.

The juvenile justice system focuses on helping the young and adolescent by acting in the best interest of the child. It does not take into consideration the crime that brought the young offender into reprimand, but actually provides a platform to assist and train them to deter from such criminal acts.

Juveniles are not charged with crime, seen as guilty and sent to prison as seen in a normal court process, but are rather found delinquent or sent to a training or reform school in order to reorient them. Juveniles are not punished for a crime, but helped to dissuade from the act of delinquency. The main goal of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation rather than punishment.

PROCESS OF A JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM

The steps taking in a juvenile court are rather informal when compared to a regular court process. If a juvenile is found guilty of a criminal offence after evidence attests to this act, the juvenile is detained and placed under hearing known as adjudication by only a juvenile judge which is closed to the public, and remained confidential so as not to affect the juvenile’s ability to be reintegrated into the society and protecting them from stigma when their records are publicly available.

This is opposed to a regular criminal court in which juries and the public are present to hear the case. The juvenile judge decides the penalty for the juvenile after going through the various evidences brought before the court. The penalties may include a juvenile detention center, community service, mandatory counselling under close supervision, paying of fines as the case demands or may be put under probation depending on the intensity of the crime committed.

Although, they may be confined to juvenile correction facilities that sometimes seem like an adult prison or jail and imposing correctional facilities, the juveniles are entitled to educational training while incarcerated. Juvenile court judges pick from a variety of legal options to meet the safety requirements of the public and also the treatment needs of the juvenile offender.

HIGH RISK BEHAVIORS IN CHILDREN

During the process of transition from childhood to adulthood, children may make choices that might endanger their lives or put their lives at risk. Therefore, these choices constitutes some high risk behaviors which has the tendency and ability to form adult behavior and they have repercussions which are costly to the society and to the children themselves.

There are some common risk behaviors exhibited by children and adolescents which includes engaging in sexual activity, illegal substance abuse, and illegal activities like vandalism or robbery, playing truancy in school, violence and even causing harm to themselves. For instance when children become sexually active, their response and behaviors towards sex if negative, may result in a high rate of unwanted pregnancy or even sexually transmitted infections.

Many a times, a lot of these children and even their parents are unaware of the dangers or risks that are involved in engaging in sexual activity and also the infections that come along with it. They perform activities without taking careful precautions, hence leading into unwanted pregnancy and an adverse effect may end up in abortion.

Also, there is an increasing rate of the abuse of substance such as cigarette, drugs etc. Children take risk with the misusage of medications prescribed by a medical personnel. Drinking excessively which is a risk behavior to the use of alcohol, is also common among young ones. The misuse or abuse of these substances tend to have an adverse effect on them. Sometimes, it alters the thinking capacity and harm decision making abilities, causing harmful psychological behaviors and could result to mental illness.

Likewise, children and adolescents are sometimes exposed to violence and abuse, and as a result brings them to a state of depression and melancholy. In response to this, they release emotional pain when they are traumatized by probably thinking of inflicting injuries on themselves or even committing suicide. They are forced to have a negative orientation about the society and hence they take up undesirable behaviors.

In addition, children who finds themselves in low-income families do not have the opportunity to receive adequate and substantial formal education, and so there is a high affinity not to do well academically or even have the cause to drop out and obtain a high risk behavior. Similarly, some children play truancy in school as a result of a lackadaisical attitude towards education leading to negative inclinations.

HALF-WAY HOUSES FOR JUVENILES

A WAY TO FURTHER REHABILITATION

Half-way houses for juveniles is a transitional facility provided in a bid to further reintegrate young criminal offenders who have served their terms, and are about returning back into the society. This facility provides a platform to continue offering supports after the juveniles have undergone some kind of reorientation and positive psychological change in perspective as regards crime. This facility is meant to strengthen the effect of what detention and the services provided in the correctional facilities, imparted to the juveniles.

The settings of the half-way house are that of an organized and systematic home which consists of a number of rules that guides the day to day activities and events that are carried out by the juveniles. Counselling continues to hold in the half-way house, skills and training on some vocational trade continues to be learnt. The structures such as security and confinement are not as rigid in the half-way houses as it is in the correctional detention centers the juveniles come from.

EFFECTIVENESS OF A HALF-WAY HOUSE ON JUVENILE OFFENDERS

The effect of the half-way house on juveniles amongst many others is that, it establishes a reasonably stable pattern of life, developing their capacity to cope with daily living. It helps develop and train the juveniles in life skills such as social and communication skills to enable them integrate themselves into the society at large. Half-way houses also provides assistance such as counselling that are necessary for the inmates to live and survive beyond juvenile correction centers.

It is important to note that besides the education and training provided to the juvenile offenders by the correctional facilities, it is necessary to prepare them for their return into the society, hence half-way houses are saddled with the responsibility of giving the juveniles a general idea of what a normal society should look like: one where there are rules to be adhered to, limits to be obeyed and supports to be enjoyed.

In addition, half-way houses can effectively serve the purpose of protecting the community from receiving ex-juvenile offenders that still carry traits of committing crime, and have not totally being rehabilitated of their criminal acts, but they will achieve these goals only with the full backing of the society and awareness of their cost-effectiveness and the need for such programs in the society.