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Substance Abuse Treatment in Juvenile Justice

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Identify and describe a problem in the juvenile justice system and then propose an innovative solution to it. This requires you to be creative and inventive while also retaining your realism. You may want to draw from elements of innovations that have been successful in the past or come up with a completely new idea.

1. Identify a problem in the juvenile justice system, and describe in detail the historical, social, and legal background of this problem. You will have to do some research to complete this step. Be sure to consider how this problem relates to cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic factors.
2. Evaluate the problem in its current state. In other words, what is the problem with how things are? Analyze this problem in terms of how it relates to families, communities, and society as a whole.
3. Propose an innovative solution to the problem. Your proposal should have achievable and measurable objectives, so that it may be evaluated and modified as it progresses. It needs to be realistically constructed and must be credible, feasible, attractive, promising, and worth the effort to consider as a potentially productive and positive feature of an enhanced juvenile justice system.
4. Propose a plan for raising money for this program through nongovernmental channels.
5. Discuss how your proposal might be received within the juvenile justice system, and propose strategies for overcoming resistance to the program. Consider how your proposal might be affected by public opinion, the attitudes of professionals, the historical background of this problem, and current trends within the juvenile justice system.
6. Discuss how your proposal relates to current trends within the juvenile justice system. Is this a departure from current trends, an improvement upon trends, or something else?
7. Predict how you anticipate juveniles might be impacted by this program. If at all possible, discuss how the character in your rap sheet will be affected by this program and how Marisol Nunez and other Riverbend City teens might be affected by the program. Support these claims with research.

In your analysis, you must apply concepts from a minimum of one scientific research article from a scholarly journal in the Library. These sources must be quoted, cited and referenced.

Use your imagination when thinking of a problem to focus on. Here are a few ideas to get you started, but you should by no means limit yourself to these:
• Communication problems between police officers and the community regarding juvenile offenders.
• Problems related to victims, witnesses, or families of juvenile offenders.
• Problems related to programs concerned with youth gangs, such as injunctions, interventions, prevention, or redirection.
• Problems related to detainees' adjudication.
• Problems related to policies, programs, and treatment for juvenile substance abusers or those with mental illnesses.

For the solution, here are a few ideas to get you started:
• An online educational program for juvenile detainees.
• Peer courts with power to recommend disposition and sentencing to juvenile justice authorities.
• Olympics-style training and events for at-risk youths who are talented in sports.
• Partnerships with professional sports teams, business organizations, or environmental groups that could be enlisted to run particular programs related to their specialty area for juvenile detainees.
• Programs for juvenile detainees that encourage entrepreneurship and invention development.
• A training program in low-cost housing construction for at-risk youths.
• Support services for sexually variant teens.
• Diversion programs for substance-abusing youths.
• A training program for prosecutors, judges, and defence attorneys in the psychology of youth development.
• A program to teach etiquette, social behaviours, communication skills, and healthy living practices to at-risk youths.
• A training program to teach community organizing and political activism skills.

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Solution Preview

Discuss brief interventions for drug abusing teenagers within a middle and high school setting described by Winters KC, Leitten W, Wagner E, O'Leary Tevyaw T, Journal of School Health, 00224391, April 1, 2007, Vol. 77, Issue 4

The scope of substance abuse and related problems among juvenile offenders will be analyzed in this summary as current approaches for addressing the problem within juvenile justice have proven to be inadequate and require for an innovative approach to addressing substance abuse among juvenile offenders. The historical approach for treating juvenile substance abusers has been placated upon treating juveniles in the same programs designed for adults, which was the approach throughout the1970s and 1980s. This approach was replaced with a more enlightened and developmentally sensitive approach, which accounts for the special needs and circumstances associated with juvenile substance abuse. Currently, adolescent drug users are viewed as distinctly different from their adult counterparts, which has facilitated different treatment programs that account for the differences associated with juvenile substance abusers. Some of the current treatment plans that are used for addressing juvenile substance abuse include contingency management approaches, family-focused interventions, cognitive-behavioural strategies, 12-step-based therapy, and therapeutic communities, that are efficacious in reducing youth drug use behaviours and related problems, such as criminal activity, family problems, and risky sexual behaviour.

Unfortunately, these programs have failed in being implemented throughout the juvenile justice system as sufficient treatment services for drug-using adolescents' represents the exception rather than the rule. Currently only 8.1% of teenagers who need drug treatment, which is defined as a juvenile that currently abuses or is dependent upon criteria for a minimum of 1 drug, is given treatment at the aforementioned specialty facilities. The impetus for such low numbers of juveniles receiving the appropriate care is predicated upon a lack of resources allocated to drug abuse, small number of treatment models, and limited access to intervention services. In the rise of juveniles and their families affected by substance abuse that have increased over the last two decades has not been met ...

Solution Summary

This is a response discussing problems in the juvenile justice systems and proposes innovative solutions to them.