A Critical Juncture in the Juvenile Justice System
A juvenile court is a court that has jurisdiction over offences or crimes committed by children between the ages of 10 and 17 years. Juvenile intake and assessment is a service whose mandate is juveniles who go against the law are placed in a less restrictive environment and to make sure that both the community and juveniles are safe. The assessment information collected during juvenile assessment includes the following:
First of all the assessment worker needs to know the juvenile’s criminal history and whether he or she has ever been involved in a criminal gang. The other information is abuse history which indicates whether the juvenile has ever been abused at any point in his or her life. The other vital information is substance abuse history which indicates the use and abuse of drugs by the juvenile.
History of community services and treatment provided to curb the effects of substance abuse should also be collected. Finally, family history, education history and medical history are collected. Poor assessment could lead to wrong judgment or taking of an inappropriate action against a juvenile. For instance a juvenile may commit a crime due to the influence of drugs and if the court lacks the information, it might result to unfair judgment.
Two examples of Juvenile intake and assessment systems are the Florida and Kansas Juvenile and assessment systems. Both of these systems have similarities and differences. One of the differences between the two systems is that in the Kansas Juvenile and assessment system, organization of delinquency services is at the local level while in the Florida system delinquency services are administered in FloridaCounty. The other difference is that exercising of jurisdiction over delinquency proceedings is done by the District courts in Kansas while in Florida jurisdiction is done by the circuit courts.
Both of these systems are doing as much as they can to prevent delinquency for instance Florida system has developed a delinquency profile data analysis tool for examination of juvenile justice trends.
Prevention of delinquency one of the strengths since the community will be informed of the various ways and approaches to curb delinquency. One of the weaknesses is that of Kansas system whereby the victims of juvenile violence do not have rights. They should take the example of Florida Juvenile intake and assessment system that gives right to victims of juvenile violence.
Topeka-Shawnee County Child and AdolescenceAssessmentCenter are different from the other intake systems in that Topeka-Shawnee gives much attention to children who are deprived of education or abused. These children most of the times undergo counseling. Adolescence Assessment Centre is involved in adolescence assessment which is a more complex task compared to juvenile assessment. Adolescents have a lot of problems in addition to substance abuse for instance psychological and emotional problems, physical or sexual abuse, poor performance in school and family problems like parental neglect (Hess, 2009).
I feel that the Florida Juvenile intake and assessment system has the best design since it has a provision for victim rights and services which allow the victims of Juvenile crime to make contributions or input into the juvenile case. The system’s detention is also more secure due to the thorough screening procedures performed.
Hess, K. M. (2009) Juvenile Justice (5th ed). Cengage Learning.