A Family Guide to Pennsylvania's Juvenile Justice System
Models for Change continues to take a proactive approach to juvenile justice, making sure that families know what to expect if somebody close to them ends up involved in the juvenile justice system. Their publication, “A Family Guide to Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Justice System,” (also available as a PDF download) was developed by the Family Involvement Committee of the Pa Council of Chief Juvenile Probation Officers--a committee of family advocates and juvenile justice practitioners--to help families understand Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice system and be better prepared to work closely with juvenile justice staff to promote positive outcomes for justice involved youth.
Pennsylvania’s approach to juvenile justice is itself a model for change--focusing on three main goals aimed at balance and restoration:
Community Protection – The public has the right to safe and secure homes and communities. The juvenile justice system must help the child while keeping the community, including the child and family, safe.
Accountability – When a crime is committed, the child is responsible for the harm caused and should take action to repair the harm and restore the victim and community.
Competency Development – Children should leave the juvenile justice system more capable of living responsibly and productively in the community. Since children are not as developmentally mature as adults, they are given the opportunity to learn to be responsible and competent.
Although the guide is specific to Pennsylvania, it is still a useful resource for anybody interested in learning more about the juvenile justice system.
David Backes writes the Friday news roundup for Reclaiming Futures and contributes articles about juvenile justice reform and adolescent substance abuse treatment to ReclaimingFutures.org. He has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Santa Clara University. David works as an account executive for Prichard Communications.