Running head: LITERATURE REVIEW 1 Literature Review and Conceptual Framework Juvenile Diversion Programs/IPS Julie I Carter Capella University PSF8374-Currenr Research on Violent Behavior Dr.
Rob Hanser LITERATURE REVIEW 2 Literature Review and Conceptual Framework History The history of diverting arrested juveniles from formal processing began with the birth of the juvenile courts. Conceived in the late 19th century, juvenile justice provided for a rehabilitation-based response to juveniles’ illegal behavior.
Punitive sanctions being received by youth in criminal courts were being set aside in the juvenile courts. Thus, in its infancy, juvenile justice could be construed as a “diversion program”. Considered to be in the best interest of the juvenile and society, juvenile justice diverted youth from criminal proceedings by providing dispositions that were more attuned to the potential to change the young offender’s behavior, and lives through clinical services, special rehabilitation programs, and tight educational guidance. (Models, 2010) First adopted by the adult criminal justice system, was the idea of diversion.
This idea became the topic of discussion within the juvenile justice system in the 1960’s. The President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice recommended exploring alternatives for addressing the needs of troubled juveniles outside of the court system in 1967. In 76, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Special Emphasis Branch supplied 10 million dollars in funding specifically for the development of diversion programs. These efforts were strictly driven by the belief that these types of programs would yield many enefits, such as allowing juveniles the option to choose an alternative to court, providing more treatment at the community level, increasing family participation, and most important, reducing the “stigma” associated with the formal juvenile justice system. (Models, 2010) As diversion has been practiced and even discussed for nearly four decades, some would contend that there is little consistency in the terms of what actually constitutes a diversion process or program, they do however agree on the common goal among these programs which is to minimize the juveniles’ involvement in the juvenile justice system.
LITERATURE REVIEW 3 Theoretical Concepts As measured by program evaluations and follow-up studies, the effectiveness of diversion programs has varied greatly from one program to the next. The successful programs, such as the Intensive Prevention Services (IPS) initiative in Philadelphia, provide very direct services that include but are not limited to parenting education, intensive family counseling, and behavioral contracting.
One of the main concepts that gave birth to the development of this program was the labeling perspective. This theory or perspective, if you will, argues that juveniles who commit minor offences become habitual offenders due to being singled out for negative recognition. This has been noted as creating and reinforcing the juvenile’s, as well as society’s view, that they are criminals. Diversion programming then is designed to assist in avoiding these negative labels that accompany formal case processing. Roberts, 2004) In 1979, Paternoster, et al. explored the extent to which juveniles discriminate between formal court processing that results in incarceration and informal diversion processing with reference to perceptions of accrued stigma and/or liabilities. The perception of the juveniles was measured in terms of school performance; parental relationships, relationships with peers; desired employment, and future involvement with the law. (Blomberg, n. d. The findings indicated only in the peer relationships area was there a notable difference between the perceptions of diverted and incarcerated juveniles. When control was made for the effects of prior social liabilities, such as social class or race, the results remained constant. Therefore one could conclude that to the extent perceptions of stigma have implications for subsequent behavior, it makes little difference whether or not juveniles receive diversion or formally imposed jail time.
In simple terms, the type of treatment would appear to not be significant in shaping self-perceptions. (Blomberg, n. d. ) LITERATURE REVIEW 4 Supporters of diversion continue to argue that programs are less stigmatizing than formal court involvement, provide juveniles with services that they would not have otherwise received, and result in reductions in the rate of recidivism.
In contrast, opponents argue that diversion programs have extended social control to juveniles who would ordinarily be released back to the community, may actually increase recidivism, do not prevent stigmatation, and can lead to the disproportionate representation of minorities. As Akers (1994) explains, the labeling theory pushes forward the thesis that persons who are labeled and/or dramatically stigmatized as deviant, are more than likely to take on a deviant self-identity and become more, rather than less deviant than if they had not been so labeled.
Theoretically, a label of deviant, juvenile offender or delinquent can affect the way that a juvenile comes to define him/herself which influences future criminal behaviors, and dictates the social roles the juvenile is allowed to assume. (Dick, Pence, Jones & Geertsen, 2004) With that noted, some research has also suggested that diversion actually increases recidivism, however early studies found little or no difference in the recidivism rates between diverted and non-diverted youth.
Yet still others have found that, regardless of the setting, interventions can as well increase “perceived” labeling and self-reported delinquency among youth. (Elliott, Dunford & Knowles, 1978) What was found to be consistent with the last group of finding was the work done latter by Lemet (1981) that suggest that these treatment interventions can impose stigma on juveniles which leads to secondary deviance. This study would be responsible for raising the possibility that diversion programs may widen the net of the state system by taking in juveniles who otherwise may have not come into contact with the system.
What is important to point out here is that many of these studies were flawed due to the difficulties researchers encountered when constructing comparison groups for the purpose of evaluation. LITERATURE REVIEW 5 Contemporary Research There have been so many different policies called “diversion” that the term has come to cover polices as diverse as doing nothing to programs indistinguishable from the existing practices of juvenile justice.
While these policies have produced better procedural justice for juveniles, reduced the detained and institutionalized population of juveniles placing them under the jurisdiction of state and/or local family service agencies, these polices have not resulted in the intended changes in the behaviors of the diverted youth. (Akers & Sellers, 2009) Recent studies on diversion programs have produced more positive results. In fact, in a study of the Detention Diversion Advocacy Project it was found that juveniles that were diverted to diversion programs were less likely than their counterparts to be referred to out-of-home placement. Sheldon, 1999) In Michigan an evaluation of their state diversion project yielded that juveniles that were randomly assigned to one of the several diversion program strategy groups were significantly less likely to have any court petitions filed against them during the two years following release from the program compared to the control group. The results shown here cannot help but suggest that the “active” hands on intervention provided by diversion programming works better that the normal process of court processing juvenile offenders. The catch, it works best if they have been thoroughly separated from the system. Davidson, Redner, Blakely, Mitchell & Emshoff, 1987) There is a wealth of evaluations of pretrial diversionary programs, and more comprehensive literature about the pretrial diversion field is dated. One of the critical challenges noted for the criminal justice field is developing and cataloging an appropriate research design for diversion programs. Researchers in the field need to actively pursue this challenge in order to determine the scope, as well as the worth of diversion programming in the criminal justice community. (Bellassai, Galloway.
Hubbard, Oeller & Sayler, 2006) LITERATURE REVIEW 6 In Philadelphia, there are several emerging practices in the diversion program initiative. First they have implemented written policies and procedures for diversion programs that are backed by a formal mission statement. This is deemed as critical as a clearly defined and articulated mission statement, goals, and objectives are the cornerstone of effective programs.
In a survey conducted by the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies, nearly 90% of all respondents in their study had written policies and procedures in place. (Bellassai et al. , 2006) Nationwide, pretrial diversion concepts have found increased legitimacy. Nearly all states now have pretrial statues that have either been enacted or updated since 2000, and are as diverse as diversion programs themselves. Diversion program today tend to feature a wider array of programs that are more diverse than their predecessors in practice, and administrative location.
However, these programs are still united by the ultimate goal of offering viable alternatives to juveniles whose criminal behaviors are addressed much more effectively outside the realm of traditional case processing. (Bellassai, 2006) Recommendations The biggest challenge to pretrial diversion programs and criminal justice planners is the lack of the strong research that is needed in the field.
One accomplishment of such a broad-based study would be the examination of the nature of the relationship with the theory of labeling and the potential synergy within the current problem-solving court model. The benefit here would come as such a study would be enumerable and provide an evidenced-based foundation for communities to make sound decisions about diversion programming. (Bellassai. 2006) LITERATURE REVIEW 7 References Akers, R.
L. & Sellers, C. S. (2009) Criminological Theories. New York, NY: Oxford University Press Bellassai, J. , Galloway, K. , Hubbard, A. , Oeller, C. & Sayler, J. (2006) Promising practices in pretrial diversion. Retrieved November 10, 2012 from http://www. ojp. usdoj. gov/BJA/about/index. html Blomberg, T. G. (n. d. ) Widening the net: An anomaly in the evaluation of diversion programs. Retrieved November, 9, 2012 from http://www. criminology. fsu. edu/crimtheory/blomberg/netwidening. html Davidson, W. S. , Redner, R. , Blakely, C. H. Mitchell, C. M. & Emshoff, J. G. (1987) Diversion of juvenile Offenders: An experimental comparison. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 55(1) 68-75 Dick, A. J. , Pence, D. J. , Jones, R. M. & Geertsen, H. R. (2004) The need for theory in assessing peer courts. American Scientist 47:1448-61 Elliot, D. S. , Dunford, F. W. & Knowles, B. A. (1978) A Study of Alternative Processing Practices: An Overview of Initial Study Findings. Boulder, CO: B. R. Institute Models for Change Systems: Reform in Juvenile Justice, July 2010.
Retrieved from http://www. modelsforchange. net Paternoster, R. , Waldo, G. , Chiricos, T. & Anderson, L. (1979) The Stigma of Diversion: Labeling in the Juvenile Justice System. Beverly Hills. CA: Sage Publications Roberts, A. R. (2004) Emergence and proliferation of juvenile diversion programs. New York, NY: Oxford University Press Sheldon, R. G. (1999) Detention Diversion Advocacy: An Evaluation. Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, D. C. : U. S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention.
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