Juvenile System

Subject: Law
Type: Evaluation Essay
Pages: 4
Word count: 1038
Topics: Juvenile Delinquency, Justice


The juvenile system plays a significant role in the society today. Juvenile delinquency refers to crimes committed by minors between the ages of 10 to 18 years (Rennison & Dodge, 2016). Since the creation of the first children’s court in 1899, millions of young people have gone through the correctional efforts of the system. Most delinquents engage in crimes, such as drug abuse, petty theft, burglary, disorderly conduct, school disciplinary offenses, and illegal possession of weapons. The establishment of juvenile correctional facilities has been a source of conflict among different stakeholders in the society. Some people feel that children’s incarceration adversely affects their development, while others hold the opinion that it is crucial to make all efforts to correct the wrongdoings of kids before their adulthood. It is critical to justify the effectiveness of the juvenile system by analyzing the history, trends, causation theories, and potential reform of the legislature in Hawaii.


Noteworthy is the significant improvements in the Hawaii’s juvenile system over the last decade. Historically, the Hawaii juvenile system was marred by unfair treatment. Children were admitted into the correctional facility without presentation of evidence of their delinquent behavior during the court’s hearing process and sentencing. Besides, statistics indicate that there was racial and gender discrimination of the minors throughout the (Oudshoorn & Zehr, 2016). As juvenile offenses became more violent during the 80s, many states adopted stricter regulations to control the behavior of children, hence the decision to try children as adults in Hawaii. Therefore, the introduction of policies to deinstitutionalize the juvenile system, and remove the children from adult jails was a welcome change to Hawaii’s juvenile system.

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Since then the state continues to undertake reforms to increase the level community involvement in eliminating delinquent behavior among children in the society. Before the assessment of the effectiveness of the state’s juvenile system in 2003, the juvenile arrest rates were high (Wood, 2012). Noteworthy is that most of the arrests included run-aways, curfew violation, and contempt of court among other offenses. However, with the introduction of the new policies, there was a 41% decline in the arrest rates (Simmons, 2017). At the same time, the period spent by new arrests in the juvenile system has increased to 188 days to create enough time for the government to rectify the behavior of the children. While at the correctional facilities, kids enjoy various programs including counseling, and education to help them with their later lives. Moreover, the community readily accepts them back into the world, and the society’s support contributes to preventing them from further involvement in the life of crime (Agnew & Brezina, 2015). As a result, there is a gradual decline in the cost of running the juvenile system, and the state continues to enjoy more benefits by raising obedient and well-behaved kids. 

Maui is one of the counties in Hawaii keen on streamlining the juvenile system, and its efforts are backed up by several theories. Firstly, is the social learning theory, it works on the premise that behavior is learned over a period. Therefore, delinquent children learn to engage in criminal behavior through the influence of peers, and subsequent receipt of rewards for their illegal activities. For example, gangs in Maui tend to recruit child offenders at a young age and groom them to become some of the most violent criminals throughout the state. Therefore, the only way to alter the negative behavior of the minors is through the creation of a positive environment, where they can re-learn good behavior (Oudshoorn & Zehr, 2016). Evidently, the community involvement program will yield better results than the incarceration of kids in the juvenile system.

Another important framework is the social control theory. According to the model, the social connections in the society are critical to the avoidance of deviant behavior (Simmons, 2017). Besides, the development of connections to friend and family is essential for human development. The society is the basis of creating the right beliefs, values, and character necessary to foster peace and harmony in households and the whole country. Moreover, once children create a form of attachment to another individual, they develop a sense of commitment and accountability to their close relations (Wood, 2012). Therefore, by ensuring that the juvenile delinquents actively participate in the societal activities, the reform process will be faster and stronger throughout the state. 

Due to the adoption of the community involvement strategy in Hawaii, the massive decline in the number of juvenile offenders by more than 40% in the state is an admirable achievement. Unlike other areas across the country, Hawaii spends less of its revenue in buying juvenile beds, and food for the offenders. The money is directed to more productive areas of development such as education and better sporting facilities, and the law enforcement’s work has been made easier. As a result, the authorities are shutting-down correctional facilities in the area, and the residents are in support of this move.

However, Hawaii should undertake further improvement to make the juvenile system more efficient. Firstly, the state should invest enough funds to fight against drug abuse, which is a predecessor to the life of crime throughout tea area. Secondly, it is essential for Hawaii to reduce the numerous counseling hours in the juvenile facilities. Instead, there should be more focus on creating activities to help in child development and behavior improvement. Lastly, it is important for the government to undertake extensive research on the efficiency of the new reform programs, and the changes in the lives of children after undergoing the juvenile system. Consequently, the state will make further progress in its efforts to make a significant change in the correction of children in Hawaii.


Conclusively, the evolution of the American juvenile system has taken an extended period. Despite the challenges that are faced by all the states, their efforts to create sound correctional facilities are finally bearing fruits. Hawaii has made more progress and acts as a model example to other states. Moreover, there is enough proof that community involvement is the better option in comparison to incarceration. As long as Hawaii’s efforts to adjust the juvenile system continue, The United States of America will have one of the best juvenile systems in the world.

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  1. Agnew, R., & Brezina, T. (2015). Juvenile Delinquency : Causes and Control. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. Oudshoorn, J., & Zehr, H. (2016). Trauma-informed juvenile justice in the United States. Toronto: CSPI.
  3. Rennison, C. M., & Dodge, M. (2016). Introduction to criminal justice : systems, diversity, and change. California: Thousand Oaks.
  4. Simmons, L. (2017). The prison school : educational inequality and school discipline in the age of mass incarceration. Oakland: University of California Press.
  5. Wood, A. (2012). Cruel and Unusual Punishment: Confining Juveniles with Adults After Graham and Miller. Emory Law Journal, 1445-1492.
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