It is argued that age is the only difference between a juvenile delinquent and an adult criminal (Albanese 3).
However, over the years many schools of thought have emerged as to the best way to deal with juvenile
delinquency. Consequently, at any given time one can find a vast array of information on the different aspects of
juvenile delinquency. This information ranges from ways to help juveniles having problems to the current ways in
which courts are handling juvenile cases. Other information designed to promote competent parents and role models
can also be found. Currently, one is able to access information on all these issues by simply using the Internet.
Searching the Internet one is able to find a variety of groups, agencies and programs that offer help to young people
who are having problems. Teen Challenge Ministry,(Stephanie) located in Shreveport, LA, is an example of one
such program. Teen Challenge Ministry caters to young girls between the ages of 13 and 17 who have "experienced
severe behavioral problem" (http://www.prysm.net/-teen_ch). Their object is to help young girls grow spiritually,
emotionally, and academically, and as a result obtain a more positive self-image and self-understanding. Other
programs designed to help young people having problems include Patenting Initiative (Tonya). Founded by John J.
Wilson, the intervention program works with both parent and child to reduce the risk factors that cause problem
behavior. Teen Help is another program that works to help young people. It is argued by organizers that truancy and
violence among teens have increased dramatically, therefore, Teen Help (Camill!
e) has established a national toll free hotline that offers teens, parents and child care professionals appropriate ways
and programs for treating adolescents having problems. The program For the Children (John) was also found and to
be effective in helping young adults having problems. Started by Ruth S. Angaran, this program, teaches
cooperation and mutual respect between parents and their teens. Anagaran also teaches corporate employees and
trains instructors in ways to "Redirect Children's Behavior"(yahoo.com). The object of this program is to help young
adults, headed for trouble, to find common ground between themselves and their parents and avoid delinquency.
On September 15, 1995 Missouri Senator Ashcroft introduced a bill that would deal more harshly with violent
juvenile criminal (Stephanie). The essence of this bill dictates that violent offenders under age fourteen and older
who commit serious crimes will suffer adult consequences. The argument made is that Americans are being
punished by a juvenile justice system that was designed for a time when serious juvenile crimes included shoplifting
and truancy; it is important to note that many other senators have endorsed this bill. It was also found that in March
of 1994 the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges proposed a law that would make it easier for
juveniles to be waived to juvenile court (John). The assumption is that "criminal courts will be tougher and more
effective in deterring juvenile crimes" (yahoo.com). If this proposal becomes a reality juveniles charged with
specific violent crimes will be tried as adults. Team member 3 also found that incre!
asingly juvenile courts are processing more delinquency case, this number has increased 26% in four years. In an
attempt to control juvenile delinquency, it seems more and more juveniles are being adjudicated in juvenile court for
offenses that would not have warrant such serious measures a few years ago.
While many people would like to see juveniles lose some of their rights, it is safe to assume that there are courts and
places where the rights of juveniles are upheld. An Appellate Court in Massachusetts found it was constitutional for
a federal District Court to deny a newspaper's motion to open juvenile proceeding against three juveniles charged
with 'hate-crime' violations (Camille). The Appellate Court found that the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act does
permit a court to close juvenile proceedings. Apart from newspapers and television there are various other ways in
which one can obtain information about juvenile delinquency. The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice federally
funds programs that help to deter juveniles at risk for delinquency (Stephanie). This department puts out a proposal
that encourages families, schools and communities interested in establishing prevention programs to take advantage
of this funding. Team member