Not having enough programs for Juvenile Offenders on Guam will lead most juvenile offenders to pursue a life of crimes. Guam Department of Youth Affairs (GDYA) lack the funds and resources to provide more programs to our youth such as rehabilitation programs and work skill programs, that will better equip our youth to reintegrate back into society and become a more productive citizens. Without these programs juvenile recidivism will continue to rise and will not be a good image for our island and would not be safer for our communities. Keeping current programs and bring back old programs to GDYA keep will not only lower crime rates but make more obedient juveniles. More Programs in the GDYA will lower Juvenile Recidivism statistics and have a more favorable impact on our island’s juvenile delinquency problem.
The GDYA was created in 1978 and has continued to make self-improvements throughout the years. Prior to 1995, GYDA was better known to the community as a place for where juvenile offender were incarcerated. A dramatic change in direction and emphasis was made in 1996 when the department’s main focus subsequently shifted towards juvenile delinquency prevention, treatment and aftercare.
Based on the new philosophy at GDYA and through the development and implementation of many new programs and services, there is a clear change in the patterns of juvenile delinquency on Guam. The main emphasis over the past several years therefore, has been to expand our services into the community, and this has been done by opening three strategically located youth resource centers throughout Guam. It have also brought specialized treatment and other services into the client’s home through the Jumpstart and Aftercare Program.
The GDYA mission is to improve the quality of life on Guam for all people by the development and implementation of programs and services that promote youth development, decrease juvenile delinquency and status offenses, strengthen the family unit, protect the public from juvenile delinquents, ensure that offenders are held accountable for their actions and are provided with appropriate treatment, and provide restitution to the victims.
GDYA goals Reduce the recidivism rate of youth remanded to Youth Correctional Facility (YCF) by 10% a year; increase the quantity and quality of youth programs and services for youth within the YCF and cottage homes; and increase programs that promotes community programs for youth to divert away from criminal/ status offenses via the three Resource Centers.
The Objectives of the GDYA Ensure staff are qualified and well trained; Maintain proper facilities and equipment; and Develop and implement effective and efficient programs/services. DYA’s three divisions are: 1) Vocational Rehabilitation and Support Services Administrative Services Unit oversees all budgetary and administrative duties, including personnel, procurement and accounting; Maintenance Section manages vehicle, building maintenance and custodial service; Culinary Unit provides meals for all clients; 2) Special Services Youth Correctional Facility and Cottage Homes provide 24-hour care and custody of juveniles; and 3) Youth Development Counseling Case Management Unit provides case work, treatment and rehabilitation services to clients remanded/adjudicated to YCF, establish, update and maintain data collection and statistical information;Community Social Development Unit, Resource Centers provide case work, treatment and rehabilitation services to juvenile offenders remanded/adjudicated to YCF and Cottage Homes’ status offenders and non-offenders, including community-based skills-building activities for children and youth at-risk and their families; Prevention Unit administers federally funded programs and coordinates and collaborates with other organizations for the implementation of prevention and youth development activities and collection and analysis of data on youth issues.
The current youth services at GDYA are Counseling Case Management Unit: Client Assessments/Drug and Alcohol Screening; Case Management; Crisis Intervention; Individual and Family Counseling; Clientele Database; Support Groups and Prevention Unit: One Nation Alcohol Free Campaign, Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) Campaign, Governor’s Task Force on Drug/Crime Prevention, in addition to various community partnerships for annual events. YCF and Cottage homes provides: Intake Processing, Client Vocational Program, DOE Liheng Famagu’on School, Client Activities/Visitations, Faith based Organizations.
The current youth services at GDYA are very successful because they help rehabilitate juveniles to become better people. Counseling Case Management helps rehabilitate juvenile offender by making them go through drug rehab and help with family counseling and juvenile cases. YCF and Cottage homes helps juvenile offenders by giving them to opportunity go to school and have visitation with their families. They just need to add more services for juvenile because it will greatly reduce the recidivism problem. Juvenile offenders are more likely to be rehabilitate than adult offenders and we should do everything we can to help them. They are our future and leaders and we must protect them because they are really important to our island.
The current youth programs at GDYA are after school care programs, aftercare, and chansa. After school care programs provides after school activities including case management services that support early childhood, academic, and social development to children who are at risk of becoming involved in crime, are victims of crime, or at-risk of engaging in dangerous behaviors. Aftercare is a community-oriented outreach program that provides intensive monitoring and an array of services including case management, school shadowing mentoring and other services for clients released from the Youth Correctional Facility and Cottage Homes. Chansa is a three-hour workshop consisting of Youth Laws, Realities of Institutional Living and Department of Corrections Parolees’ Testimonies to divert at-risk children and youth from entering the juvenile justice system. The School Care program is successful because it provides juvenile offenders school activities, case management services, and academic which will be a great advance to our youth once they reintegrate back into society. Aftercare is successful because youth services workers are school shadowing juvenile offenders to make sure that they are a good student and do not mess up while on school grounds. Chansa is also successful because it teaches juvenile offender the risk of living a life of crimes and make juvenile aware this risks. I believe that these services are very successful but GDYA needs more programs because there is only a handful of programs.
Juvenile Recidivism Statistics from 2010 to 2014 have had its ups and downs. In 2010 the population at GDYA was 477 total. First time offenders was at 181 and re-offenders was at 296. The Juvenile Recidivism rate at that year was at 62.05% . In 2011 the population went up to 606 total. First time offenders was at 222 and re-offenders was at 384. The Juvenile Recidivism rate was at 63.37%. In 2012 recidivism rate had went down slightly. Total population was at 551 total. First time offenders was at 203 and re-offenders was at 348. Recidivism rate went down to 63.25%. In 2013 the juvenile recidivism another increase in recidivism rates. First time offenders was at 136 and re-offenders was at 248. Recidivism rate was at 64.4%. Lastly in 2014 total population was at 476. First time offenders 205 and re-offenders was at 266. Recidivism rate was at 57.14% that year.
Juvenile Recidivism Top Five Statistics based on ethnicity are broken down into Chamorro, Chuukese, Pohnpean, Filipino, and Palauan. In 2010, the statistics for that year was Chamorro (197), Chuukese (158), Pohnpean (19), Filipino (11), and Palauan (9). In 2011, the statistics are Chamorro (188), Chuukese (210), Pohnpean (12), Filipino (30) and Cham/Fili (17). In 2012, the statistics are Chamorro (224), Chuukese (264), Filipino (45), Caucasian (23), and Palauan (23). In 2013 and 2014 the top four statistics are Chamorro, Chuukese, Filipino, and Caucasian. In 2013, the statistics are Chamorro (198), Chuukese (168), Filipino (12), and Caucasian (12). In 2014, the statistics are Chamorro (229), Chuukese (199), Filipino (8), and Palauan (18).
Outlook on this Juvenile Recidivism Statistics. Throughout the year, a series of meetings will be scheduled with DOE personnel (e.g. truant officers, school discipline administrators), Court personnel (e.g., judges, probation officers, juvenile drug court staff) to inform them of the data and to discuss specific cases where an admission could have been prevented. More programs focused on intervention, diversion, drug and alcohol abuse, and even creating more GDOE detention programs at schools can help deter the current population at YCF. In addition, research on evidence-based approaches preventing recidivism and specifically violations of court orders will be done by GDYA staff. After those series of meetings, action steps and plans will be formulated and implemented all while working closely and communicating directly with other child-serving agencies and personnel. No one approach is going to quickly solve the problem, but rather a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary team of professionals along with community, church, and family members may be the true beginning of possibly solving a very complex social problem. Therefore, GDYA will continue to work with FSM leaders, church leaders, advocacy groups, etc. to enhance educational and vocational experiences of all FSM citizens on Guam and help develop and engender a sense of responsibility, accountability,and spirituality within the GDYA youth clientele. GDYA will sustain its partnerships, including Sanctuary’s AmeriCorps Volunteers Program, Guam Community College (GCC)–College Access Challenge Grant Program, Guam Department of Education (Career Technical Educational, UOG internship programs, Chansa Program with Guam Police Department (GPD) and Department of Corrections (DOC), PEACE Office for suicide awareness training and Youth for Youth conferences,businesses (donations such as computer labs and internet, sports equipment), etc.
Some of the programs that GDYA needs to bring back are Boot Camp, Auto mechanic program, Jumpstart, SCORE, and Step Plan. Boot Camp teaches Juvenile Offender to be more discipline because it is more similar to military boot camp. Auto mechanic program teaches Juvenile Offender work skills that they can use once they get released back into the public. Jumpstart a treatment-oriented program designed to integrate and reunify clients with their families, schools and community through an extended furlough concept and reducing the confinement time period in the Youth Correctional Facility. SCORE is a School presentations on the realities of institutional living in a correctional institution and the process of the juvenile justice system. Other Services: Computer Labs; Homework Assistance; Outreach Counseling Crisis Intervention. The Step Plan allows juvenile to go through levels from 1 to 5 depending on their behavior. Level 1 being the first level of good behavior and Level 5 being the best behavior. Once the Juvenile Delinquent has reached level 5 they are allowed to get released back to their parents.
Some of the programs/services that should be created for the GDYA are sports programs, coastal cleanups, dance groups, and role-playing activities. Sports programs because it build character and gets juveniles to become more active and healthier. Coastal cleanups so that youths are able to learn the value of their community and help keep the environment clean. Role-playing activities should juvenile build confidence and able to see how it feels playing a different role, example like being a police officer and dealing with a criminal and their behavior. I believe this programs/services can build juvenile offender better character and teach them good life lesson.
The program in my opinion that they should stop in the states for juvenile offenders is the scared straight program which Guam do not have anymore. It makes juvenile offender have contact with adult offenders and something the experience is a traumatizing experience. One of the four core requirements for juvenile offenders on Guam is sight and sound separation and I believe that the states should adopt that core requirement. When Guam had the scared straight program, they brought juvenile offenders to prison and made them talk to inmates at the DOC. They also had to stay in cells for about an hour to experience the feeling of it at DOC. I believe this program is something beneficial for the juvenile because the experience is not a good one and it does not teach anything of value to the youth.
My standing on this issue is that there is not enough programs that can help to rehabilitate our juvenile delinquency problems. Juvenile will continue to commit crimes regardless whether we have enough programs or not but more programs and services will reduce that rate. The only way we can improve this issue in the GDYA is to add more funds into the programs and services that they have because it will help them create and bring back more programs. Our youth are very important to our island and I believe that they can be rehabilitate. The benefits on having more programs will greatly reduce our island’s juvenile delinquency program because it will help equip our with the skills and knowledge to become a more law abiding citizen.
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