American Correctional Policies

Table of contents

The main focus of the juvenile justice systems has always been rehabilitation of the offender. However, this principle has been criticized by some sociologists prompting research activities on the most appropriate method of dealing with juvenile delinquency. Steiner and Wright (2006) carried out a research to determine the effectiveness of tougher penalties on certain cases of juvenile delinquency. According to their study, Steiner and Wright the more strict penalties introduced in the late 20th century had no impacts on the rate of juvenile delinquency and recidivism.

A similar study by the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2004) indicated that there is no evidence of the effectiveness of the therapeutic foster care intervention programs in dealing with juvenile delinquency. This program was introduced to assists delinquent youths who are unable to live with their parent. However, the program recommended that young people with chronic deviant behaviors should be put under a foster parent who is trained to handle such individuals.

Although the findings of the two studies are essential in formulation of correctional policies, it is important to note that both studies do not consider the factors that forced the juvenile to commit the crime before looking at the effectiveness of the programs. There is no doubt that every case of juvenile delinquency should be addressed separately if intervention programs have to be effective.


  1. Cocozza, J. & Skowyra, K. (2002). “Youth with mental health disorders: issues and emerging responses. ” Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Journal, 7(1), pp 3-13.
  2. MMWR (2004) Therapeutic foster care for the prevention of violence: A report on recommendations of the task force on community preventive services, CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 53 (RR-10).
  3. Steiner, B. , Wright, E. (2006). “Assessing the relative effects of state direct file waiver laws on violent juvenile crime: Deterrence or irrelevance? ” The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. 96(4), pp 1451-1477.

Part two: Abstract Policies that are geared towards restoration of justice have been common in the criminal justice systems in the United States. These policies have progressively found their way into the juvenile justice systems in many states. These policies are aimed at balancing the interests of the juvenile offenders and the victims of the offences. There are several studies that have been carried out to ascertain the effectiveness of these programs in the juvenile justice systems. This paper is aimed at examining the restorative justice policies in the juvenile justice systems which has concluded that this approach has been adopted by almost all states in the country in the recent past.


  1. Pavelka, S. (2008). “Restorative Juvenile Justice Legislation And Policy: A National Assessment,” International Journal of Restorative Justice, 4(2) pp 100-118 http://www.
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