The Psychological Issues of Juveniles
Juvenile delinquency in many countries emphasises the need in rehabilitation facilities. The requirement of children justice system to act in the best interest of children has become an extremely complex subject. The research on this subject has become more psychological, behavioural and sociological rather than legal. Some of the causes of unlawful acts among adolescents include poverty, neglect, drugs, gangs, and truancy. Juvenile offenders show different mental problems depending on how they were raised. The study indicates that criminal infant behaviour is a manifestation of the lack of parental control and care. A psychological examination of young delinquents is a crucial part of juvenile court systems because the essence of the latter is rehabilitation. A wayward child may require treatment for drug abuse problems, educational assistance as well as psychological counselling. Offering correctional services will reduce chances of recidivism. The juvenile justice system will in most cases provide the prerequisite psychological aid and therapy, or delegate the task to other agencies, which will undertake the role. This paper will endeavour to explore psychological issues confronting adolescents in court-ordered rehabilitation facilities and the applicability of the Saint Leo core value of responsible stewardship in the reformatory setting.
Psychological examination of young offenders provides vital information to the court, which assists in the development of a rehabilitation schedule for the juvenile delinquents. Hence, this correctional agenda can then be included into their probation or sentencing requirements. Moreover, these examination needs may be instructed by the court at the request of the defence or the prosecution. The inquisition process entails a review of all charges against the adolescent criminal and the enquiry of previous indictments recorded. The juvenile offender is subjected to clinical assessments in order to establish the psychological status and where possible, identify any mental disorders (Edwards, 2011).
Despite the low rate of junior malefactors over the years, many young lawbreakers are placed in the confines of correctional facilities all over the world. These detention centres are required to temporarily house adolescent delinquents who pose security risk before standing trial. Recently juvenile penitentiaries have been overcrowded by teenage malefactors who do not reach the high safety hazard threshold. The research indicates that over 70% of junior lawbreakers are jailed for non-violent crimes (Ono, 2015). The unnecessary use of secure penal institutions exposes the psychologically troubled youth to the environment similar to that of adult inmates. Therefore, this fact gives rise to the court reaction –ordered children with psychological needs can assist in breaking this vicious cycle and raising young persons who will grow to be law-abiding citizens.
American teenagers often experience anxiety and drug abuse related disorders. `Co-occurrence’ is the most prevalent substance use disease, which results in the mental illness. Thus, this abnormality puts adolescents at risk of committing delinquent acts. Juveniles at the court-ordered rehabilitation centres may suffer from behavioural disorders. The latter are associated with actions that harm or disturb others and may cause distress or affliction to a victim. A prolonged stay at the penitentiary institutions may also result in emotional breakdowns, which affect the youth ability of normal performance due to anxiety or discouragement. The research proves that 3% of children and 12.5% of the adolescents are influenced by depression, a condition that is likely to continue until adulthood (Edwards, 2011). The prevalence of despair among juvenile offenders is extremely higher in comparison to other criminals (Ono, 2015). Depression greatly contributes to psychological challenges, which young delinquents encounter at the court-ordered correctional facilities.
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An overcrowding and harsh condition in state penitentiaries have led to the rise of suicide attempts, psychiatric problems and stress-related illnesses (Edwards, 2011). Furthermore, the research claims that the teenagers who were previously confined at the court-ordered correctional institution were more prone to the usage of illicit drugs, cigarettes and alcohol than those who came for the first time. It is important to note that many children who commit unlawful act often have a history of drug abuse. Post-traumatic stresses and anxiety disorders are common among young offenders. Screening and assessment play a critical role in addressing psychological health needs of adolescents in the judicial juvenile rehabilitation facilities (Ono, 2015). Screening endeavours to identify those who may require immediate psychological treatment and further examination. On the other hand, assessment is more detailed and intensive since it examines problems and behaviours displayed by youngsters. Mental health assessments also report on legal issues surrounding the child’s competency to attend to the adjudicatory process and actively participate in the decision-making. The rising number of psychological disorders among young offenders affects negatively their legal capacity. There is a need to create specialised courts to handle cases of juveniles with mental problems.
Incompetence to face trial among children is directly related to developmental disability or psychological disorders. The competence of adolescent malefactors to respond to the correctional needs at the court-ordered correctional facilities induces the further complicated developmental immaturity of the juveniles. Community-based resources centres can assist to ease congestion in state penitentiaries (C. Bartol & A. Bartol, 2015). In addition, these establishments can be used to host the non-violent youth who are not of a high-security risk to the public. Community-based centres can also help in rehabilitating children for whom detention intensifies their psychological problems and creates an unmanageable situation for the correctional system officials. Mental health disorders are more difficult to treat in juveniles than in adults. The reason is that juveniles and teens experience a unique developmental period associated with growth and change.
In order to successfully address the psychological challenges that young offenders encounter at the court-ordered rehabilitation facilities, it is essential to employ collaboration model, which encompasses integrated psychological health, child welfare, as well as juvenile justice and educational systems to offer correctional services to adolescent delinquents. Furthermore, the access to mental health services in the post-rehabilitation time plays a significant role in addressing psychological needs of teenagers. The multidimensional approach in rehabilitating young offenders is in line with responsible stewardship value advocated by Saint Leo, which strives to maximise the use of available resources to improve human welfare.
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Because of the deprivation of the life of a normal child, the further psychological concern arises within isolated confinement. When juvenile lawbreakers are locked in their rehabilitation facilities for 23 or more hours per day with the minimum or no meaningful social interaction programs, most of them start experiencing depression, anxiety, panic, hallucinations and rage. Moreover, overcrowded penitentiaries lead to the decreased mental well-being of junior offenders and the increased risk of committing suicide (C. Bartol & A. Bartol, 2015). The delinquents also lack purposive activity and they may find themselves abusing substances. Young criminals may become aggressive, suspicious of each other, start bullying and develop the unsympathetic attitude.
The Saint Leo core value of responsible stewardship entails the use of riches created by God to improve the life of human beings and the community at a large (C. Bartol & A. Bartol, 2015). The core value of responsible stewardship encourages the spirits to make maximum use of natural resources and individuals to diligently commit themselves to be resourceful in their communities. Juvenile rehabilitation at court-ordered penal institutions is anchored to the core value of responsible stewardship. Thus, this is because the process of correcting young offenders to make them ingenious members of society calls for the spirit of service from the correctional officers.
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In conclusion, psychological health and drug abuse make it complicated for the juvenile justice system to effectively respond to rehabilitation needs of the adolescent offenders. There is a need for active partnership by all players in the mental health community, juvenile–serving organisations and government agencies in order to integrate in treatment and correction of these young lawbreakers and prompt positive health outcome for criminals and the society. Hence, this collaboration model is in line with responsible stewardship value advocated by the Saint Leo, which endeavours to make maximum use of the available resources for the improvement of the community.