Since ancient time, communities devised various mechanisms to sanction member of the community who travelled against societal norms, values, customs, and traditions. Some communities sanctioned law violators through beating, hanging, stoning, and lynching, but the type punishment imposed on the victims depended on the gravity of the offense committed. However, most communities appointed a council of elders to prosecute and punish individuals who contravened societal norms, values, and traditions with the intention to enhance cohesion, integration, and unity among the members. In essence, the council of elders acted as a local criminal justice system that had the mandate and responsibility to maintain order and status quo in the community.
As a result of civilization coupled with emergence of industrial revolution, almost all facets of the society including the criminal justice system have experienced transformation in their operations. The criminal justice system remains an indispensible component in national development as it is mandated with the obligation, responsibility, and duty to maintain status quo, order, and promote justice in the country. It works in unison with other arms of the government and law enforcing agencies to deter crime and ensure that criminals receive fair trial in the court of law. For many years, the criminal justice system in the country has maintained a high level of professionalism and efficiency in its operations through hiring of competent judges and establishment of correction facilities for criminals and juvenile delinquents. The provisions of the American constitution articulate that juvenile courts have the legal obligation to charge, sentence, and commit juveniles to a particular health care program or correction facility (Marion, 2002).
Youth Detention Centre, also commonly known as Juvenile Detention Centers is a secure and safe residential facility where juvenile delinquents await court trial, hearing, and in certain instances, juvenile delinquents are placed in long-term health care program. In essence, juvenile detention centers ensure that juvenile delinquents do not pose a threat to the community, and attend court trials, hearings, and proceedings before the court rules over the case. Normally, juvenile detention centers are not punitive in nature because they protect juvenile delinquents well-being, through provision of consistent health care, education, counseling interventions, recreational facilities, and other residential treatment programs as envisioned in “state as parent” clause (Richard, 2008). This clause articulates that state and local authorities should provide juvenile delinquents with necessary resources and services, aimed to safeguard their well-being as they await court trials in custody. Based on this assertion, designing and establishing an effective juvenile detention facility remains an imperative component in criminal justice system as addressed in this paper.
Design of juvenile detention facility
The government has the sole responsibility to maintain status quo, order, and promote justice through the criminal justice system; an aspect that promotes political stability, facilitates economic development, and deter crime in the country. Although the government has the obligation to execute this fundamental role, it requires immerse support from law enforcing agencies and other stakeholders in criminal justice system to deter crime, especially among the youths. Establishment of juvenile detention centers has remained an imperative goal and objective for the government geared towards promoting peace and stability, harmony, and deter crime among juvenile delinquents.
In this scenario, “Reformed Youth Correction Facility,” would be the name of my juvenile justice facility. Unlike most of the existing juvenile detention centers, Reformed Youth Correction Facility would be suited in cool and siren environment; a few kilometers from an urban area to enable the occupants reflect on their lives, conduct retrospective observation, and build consensus with their inner self. The facility would have access to water, electricity, security, road network, and other social amenities. It would accommodate more than 200 juvenile delinquents. It would have several buildings including education unit, recreational facilities, and science and computer laboratories, to mention, but a few.
Reformed Youth Correction Facility is a result-oriented and multi-purpose facility instituted to provide short-term and long-term residential treatment programs, for juvenile delinquents awaiting court trial, and /or those awaiting court decision on sentence and commitment on a placement on a particular program or facility.
Operational goals and objectives:
Reformed Youth Correction Facility would be founded on two fundamental operational goals namely:
Reformed Youth Correction Facility would provide secure and safe environment for juvenile delinquents admitted under long-term and short-term detention initiative and other residential treatment programs.
Like any other juvenile detention facility, Reformed Youth Correction Facility would operate under two programs namely; secure detention and secure confinement. In essence, the facility would combine the two programs in order to attain its goals and objectives as envisioned in the facility’s values, mission, and philosophy. In other words, the facility remain geared towards providing secure and safe environment for juvenile delinquents awaiting court trial and hearing, and those committed to a long-term treatment program. Normally, juvenile delinquents are charged for posing a threat to the public, violating court orders, and travelling against laws of the land by engaging in deviant behaviors and criminal activities. The facility would draft administrative and operational by laws and policies, which would guide the daily operation of the facility. Staff members and professionals would be required to adhere to the codes of conduct as stipulated in the facility by laws and policy guidelines.
Staff and human personnel
The facility cannot work effectively without considering the roles, duties, and responsibilities of various members of the staff hired by the facility management. Like other juvenile detention facilities, Reformed Youth Correction Facility would hire trained, qualified and competent medical practitioners (nurse, doctor, or physician), teachers, consultants, counselors, IT expertise, security personnel, legal consultants, and administrators, to mention, but a few. The management would scrutinize credibility, experience, knowledge and skills, and competence of each member of the staff before hiring and assigning roles (Vetter & Simonsen, 2006). For instance, all medical practitioners should be registered and licensed with the nursing council before being working with the facility. In the same breath, other staff members should hold minimum qualifications in their respective disciplines. Like other juvenile detention facilities, the management of this facility would organize field trips, seminars, and vocational training to equip and enhance capacity building of the staff member.
The facility management understands the importance of integrating a comprehensive school curriculum in the facility program and operations. The facility would establish educational unit composed of classrooms; science laboratories, library, and resource center to enable juvenile delinquents have access to reliable, quality, and relevant education (Leone, 2007). Five full time teachers, one course instructor, and three assistant tutors would be hired and assigned different roles within the educational unit. Similarly, the facility management would establish several computer laboratories to help juvenile delinquents undertake online learning. Informational Technology experts would be hired to assist the students (juvenile delinquents). Additionally, teachers, course tutors, and instructors would be required to extend their training for 36 hours to enhance their skills, knowledge, and competences. Physical education and extra-curriculum activities would be integrated with the facility operations to nurture talents and promote healthy living. Based on these assertions, the facility would ensure needs of individuals are addressed effectively during the learning process.
Treatment remains an important aspect in any detention facility. In most cases, individuals contract communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and Syphilis either before or after entering the facility thus posing a threat to other people within the facility. In order to address this issue, the management and medical practitioners would conduct a medical examination to establish medical condition of each juvenile and staff members. Medical practitioners would provide treatment interventions to the affected persons as required by the regulations in health care. The management would formulate and implement a medical procedure that would ensure that all medical calls are answered to prevent transmissions. Medical practitioners would also be required to work with counselors to assist juveniles suffering from psychological and mental disorders. Prevention and intervention plan would be formulated and implement by the management to guarantee safety of the occupants.
The facility would incorporate several correctional components aimed at reducing recidivism and deter criminal activities among juvenile delinquents. First, the facility would integrate Cognitive Behavioral denoted as CBT; which is one of the psychological techniques. Cognitive behavioral training is designed to help individuals change their beliefs, values, and morals, which negatively affect their thinking process (Lee, 2006). Introducing this model would help Juveniles delinquents question their thinking, make concrete and rational decisions, and engage in positive thinking. The model would help to reduce recidivism among juveniles’ delinquents because they would maintain good ventures when they leave the facility. Second, the management would involve community-parole programs, which would help juvenile delinquents interact with their family members, friends, and relatives. In essence, family members would provide the “victim,” with moral and emotional support; an idea that would enhance retribution. Third, the facility would involve religious leaders and chaplains in the intervention plan. This move would help juveniles delinquents share their experiences, emotions, and feelings with religious leaders thus inculcating desirable values and morals. Based on this assertion, the facility would integrate various correctional components aimed at reducing and deterring criminal activities among juveniles.
Lee, u. (2006). "Critical Factors in Mental Health Programming For Juveniles in Corrections Facilities. International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, 2(1), 123-127.
Leone, p. (2007). "Education Servcies For Youth With Disabilities In a State-Operated Juvenile Correctional System: Case Study and Analysis. The Journal of Special Education, 1(3), 56-78.
Marion, N. E. (2002). Criminal justice in America: the politics behind the system. Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press.
Richard, M. (2008). Juvenile Delinquency and Special Education Laws: Policy Implementation Issues and Directions for Future Research. The Journal of Correctional Education, 2(59), 177-185
Vetter, H. J., & Simonsen, C. E. (2006). Criminal justice in America: the system, the process, the people. Philadelphia: Saunders.