In Washington, and throughout the country, the juvenile justice system is rehabilitative as opposed to punitive. This means that, if your son or daughter gets in trouble with the law, the central focus of the adjudication process that follows is not to punish your child into good behavior but to hold him or her accountable and help prevent similar issues from recurring in the future. When a juvenile is a repeat offender, it is known as “recidivism,” which means “tendency to reoffend.”
Strategies to prevent recidivism in Washington juveniles are based on the belief that most minors who commit crimes have underlying needs associated with their home life, health, academic experience and social issues. There is no shame and no reason to be embarrassed if your family is struggling to help a juvenile facing accusations for committing a crime.
Keep these strategies in mind to prevent juvenile recidivism
The following list includes a basic overview of tangible steps you can take to promote rehabilitation and help prevent a minor from becoming a repeat offender in the Washington juvenile justice system:
- Employ tests and assessments to determine if your child is in a high-risk category for recidivism.
- Work with local resources, such as social services, court officials, police, teachers, counselors, etc., to address your child’s specific needs and promote a positive outcome and positive future performances in all aspects of his or her life.
- Discuss possible special needs with an educational consultant to determine if an individualized education program (IEP) or similar options might help your child.
In some cases, a mental or physical health problem may affect a child’s behavior. Therefore, it is also helpful to speak with your family’s primary care physician or a psychologist, if you believe such issues are impeding your child’s quality of life or are increasing his or her risk for juvenile misconduct.
The juvenile justice system is here to help
There may also be support groups in your community to help parents and kids who are facing criminal charges or other legal problems associated with juvenile crime. Such incidents often have a connection to substance abuse issues, domestic violence, learning disabilities, poverty and other problems that can have a significant impact on a child’s behavior and choices in life.
When parents or guardians tap into local resources, it is often possible to prevent or, at least, reduce recidivism in juveniles. There are also legal resources available to ensure the protection of your child’s rights and best interests during all proceedings.