There are minimal disputes about the face of the juvenile justice system showing kids who get in trouble. Though, you may disagree there tends to be a disconnect between the portrayal of these youth as dangerous thieves or addicts and the societal efforts to address what these young offenders need in order to reintegrate into society.
While kids involved in the system may be guilty, it is vital to consider the reasons young men and women offend. Additionally, examining what kind of treatment is necessary to help juvenile offenders transition back into the mainstream is crucial.
Substance abuse among juvenile offenders
There exists a high rate of drug-related arrests among youth. Reports suggest that over 75% of those involved in the juvenile justice system admit to recent drug use, while nearly 50% of juvenile detainees have a substance use disorder.
In addition to potential chemical dependence, the needs of juvenile offenders often include problems related to:
- Emotional health
- Academic struggles
- Family disturbances
- Physical well-being
The state’s Department of Children’s Services contracts services to help young women in trouble with the law. It also operates hardware correctional facilities such as the Wilder Youth Development Center for young men found guilty of committing a violent crime against another person.
There are resources available for struggling teens
Residential centers provide teen boys the opportunity to build healthy, independent living skills in a safe and secure facility. Well-trained staff hold youth accountable for their behaviors and teach them the skills required for becoming productive members of society. These programs also include drug and alcohol treatment, when applicable.
If you face consequences within the juvenile justice system, there are ways you can receive the assistance you need to get your life back on track. While you may need to accept court-ordered consequences, you can overcome your inner struggles and learn how to deal with difficult situations in the future.