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Main Issues with the Australian Youth Justice Strategy

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The identification and delineation of three complex issues that affect youth offenders presenting for justice services using statistics from Australian Institute of Crime (AIC) or Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) In recent years, in the social scenario of Australia, juvenile related justice services have grown in demand and popularity. For young offenders who have committed offenses, often it is found that there is an underlying strong issue or reason for it. Identifying these complex issues is the first step. As per the AIC (Australian Institute of Crime) and ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics), below are three complex issues discussed in detail. Furthermore, Delineation of such psychological disorder is needed to help them achieve better outcomes by supporting them with the right services and agencies.

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Depressive Disorders- One of the most common yet most complex disorders in Australia is related to thoughts, mood, and body. Mental illness makes a critical intervention with the day to day functioning of an individual. Any kind of depressive disorders is often painful for the individual and the people around them. Youth offenders in Australia who are presented for justice services can also showcase varied symptoms of depression in them, which need to be treated. The treatment can take days, weeks, months or even years. An ambulance officer, police officer or a psychiatrist can help in these regards. Here are some common signs of youth offenders suffering from depressive disorders.

  • Sad, teary, anxious or in an empty mood consistently.
  • Pessimistic feelings.
  • Feelings of worthlessness, guilt or hopelessness
  • Lost interest all kind of hobby as well as pleasure activities which one had previously enjoyed. Often such people showcase lost interest in sex.
  • Lowering of energy and a sense of fatigue.
  • Finding it difficult to make decisions, remembering or concentrating.
  • Experiences of insomnia or sometimes oversleeping
  • Loss of appetite or overeating experiences leading to either weight loss or gain.
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Constant irritability and restlessness.

Anxiety issues– A majority number of people showcase antisocial personality disorders, which is a more intense level of anxiety disorder. Such people are highly responsive towards threats, and this leads to various consistent violent behavior in them. This is a heightened comorbid anxiety disorder which is prevalently found amongst young offenders. Some of the people who had symptoms of APD (antisocial personality disorder) have committed crime from 15 years age and are showcasing high levels of alcohol use, drug use and are experiencing suicidal thoughts, including suicide attempts.

Bipolar issues- Maniac depression or bipolar disorder is a medical condition which impacts the normal functioning of the brain, and as a result, the person affected experiences a lot of extreme mood swings. Sometimes, such people can either be overexcited or be in a very low and depressive mood. Moreover, people having bipolar disorder often cannot make a distinction between what is real and what is not (Malvaso & Delfabbro, 2015). Two models of rehabilitation that exists for at-risk teens and the research and scholarly debates around these two rehabilitation discourses for teens. There are different kinds of theories and rehabilitation models which can be provided to such teens.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy

The founder of this therapy is Sigmund Freud. It is a contemporary theory which has evolved and is often used in modern day scenario to rehabilitate young offenders who are in a justice service. The various terminologies which are associated with psychodynamic features are conflict, neurosis, object relationship, attachment, defensiveness, unconscious, ego, drives, superego, transference, counter transference, libido and many other traits. Various approaches used under psychodynamic classification model are

  • Psychoanalysis
  • Adlerian Psychotherapy
  • Analytical
  • Psychotherapy
  • Object Relations
  • Self-Psychology

The Freud theory bases itself on the fact that humans cannot exist without conflicts and such conflicts are often efforts which humans make to sync in between their social self and biological self. One is often unaware about the presence of such conflicts. Therapies of psychodynamic can make one aware so that a person knows about their behavior and requirements and hence can better control it. The main aim is to ensure that such conflicts within a human being must not affect them. Such clients are encouraged continuously as it encourages them to feel good, get confidence, gratification, and pride and develops a desire in them to cooperate. Such therapies aim at replacing high-level thoughts of self-enhancement, self-protective and self-indulgent thoughts with social contributions of courageous levels (Driessen, et al. (2015).

Humanistic – existential psychotherapy

In this approach, justice is being brought to the patient including their mind, spirit, and body. Many therapeutic methodologies are implemented on such patients. Every method can self-heal a person. The model of the humanistic psychotherapist is genuine and is majorly promoted by Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. These therapists have used the existential psychotherapy and humanistic psychotherapy to find this combined approach. Existential psychotherapy is the humanistic therapy which helps clients explore constrictive methods to adjust to challenges of daily living. Here people affected by distress and anxiety are aided in exploring their personal belief and value system so that they can get clarifications and understanding about the various challenges they face in socio-cultural context or context of physical or psychological problems.

This type of therapy gives equal importance to a person’s past, present, and future. Four typeset existential problems are noted in this regard in which people struggle to cope and might need therapy. These are as follows:

  • Death freedom
  • Responsibility
  • Isolation
  • Meaninglessness

Statistical findings regarding teen justice rehabilitation that would inform best practice models for either correction, police enforcement, legal or court practice derived from using the statistics from Australian literature of Crime (AIC) or Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Research is always being made regarding various service delivery models and best practices made as response strategies for addressing complex issues of clients within the Australian justice system. Best is taking help of legislation under any of the relevant legal acts is institutionalization. One factor impacting clients located inside justice surroundings is that they are exposed to a very intense institutional environment. A common example is when people are put into prisons, hospitals, detention centers, mental health facilities, boarding, and large residential units (commission homes). They go through different negative things like lessening of job opportunities, poor quality relationship with family and challenges in coping with stressful scenarios.

Some of the common forms of response strategies taken are: -

  • Debates of scholarly and research category based on responses to complex cases and behaviors
  • Crisis-related interventions.
  • Communication effectiveness
  • Boundary setting
  • Strategies for self-care
  • Assessment of risk from suicides
  • Strategies to work about AOD related abuse.

When observing related prison population in Australia, it has been found that the occurrences of psychiatric disorders are quite higher than what is found in the general society or community. In the year 2006, it was found that the presence of yearlong psychiatric illness is found to be 80% prevalent amongst prisoners and 31% in people from the community. The overall prison population faces some serious mental illness to the even chronic type of depressions in both males and females. In NSW prisons, around 48% of men and around 54% of women have been treated for mental related health issues and concerns. As per AIC and ABS, currently, around 16% of men and around 22% of women in prison of NSW are being treated with psychiatric medications. One of the major medications used in this regard is anti-depressants.

In this regard states and territories will implement their legislation which holds applicable to the event. Some of the common best practices come under the legislative measures under the following acts:

  • Crimes Act
  • Wrongs Act
  • Residential Tenancies Act
  • Guardianship and Administration Act
  • Children, Youth, and Families Act
  • Family Violence Protection Act
  • Personal Safety Act
  • Mental Health Act
  • Victims of a Crime Act (Ogloff, Talevski, Lemphers, Wood and Simmons, 2015).

One can also take help of the Victorian Department of Human Services. It helps to describe the people who are suffering from very complex problems. Compare and contrast two ethical requirements and considerations that should be taken into effect, reflected and in accordance with the body of literature that exists.

There are many ethical needs in working at therapeutically areas inside a justice environment. It is the responsibility of a youth justice worker or researcher to understand legislation which is having a link with the client for whom the justice service support is being created. Such legislation must be practiced along with the requirements of the organization and legislation. It is true that not all Court cases go through extensive reviews. Sometimes the constitution can put a limitation to the federal courts for hearing. In addition to this, there can be additional restrictions or boundaries added by the Supreme Court as well. Rules are also imposed by state courts about matters which are brought for justice giving. Differentiation of ethical environments is hence needed to ensure proper justice is delivered, and it is based on the following. These are the differentiating methods:

  • Client situation must be ensured to be within the capacity of the ethical level therapeutic justice system of service delivery structure.
  • About the present complexities or issues, one must detect their ethical dilemmas in the same context.
  • Any issues or multiple occurrences must be unpacked.
  • Legislation must be reviewed about any event which is judicial.
  • Common law to be reviewed which can be applied to any event which is justifiable.
  • The proper legislation, as well as common law, must be selected which is justifiable.

Ethical consideration is to use referrals. They are basically supported services to whom all the details of the client must be provided. Service personnel take up the matter and makes sure it follows ethical, legislative and organizational requirements. Firstly, organizational framework issued for helping clients communicate and collected data which are preliminary requirements in case of a proper referral. Secondly, there must be a complete awareness about local support services as well as specialized and organizational help and support. One must critically analyze the approaches of people about this and other behavioral change programs (Kelly & Armitage, 2014).

Another option is to take help in the YJC (Youth Justice Conferencing). The YJC is a response system related to the community for any youth offending behaviors. Here Convenors help undergo conferences where young people who have made an offense are supported, so they can own up to it in order to receive further help. Name two self-care strategies and frameworks that have been studied that help justice workers deal with complex client issues while outlining how these can be developed, practiced and monitored.

These studies help practitioners in order to provide a deep reflection on their practices. They undergo secondary consultations and varied reflective practice sessions to think about their work, cases and make a thorough analysis of families, work processes, bottlenecks and development of solutions for future works. Such processes also can be used as study materials by peers. Hence through reflective practices, one can form a culture of practice within the enterprise improving quality of service and justice outcome successes.

One strategy by youth justice officers is regular supervision of their clients and their progress. Hence, Supervisors are always learning, developing, assessing, planning varied interventions about people affected and their failures, considering concern points and dilemmas and then creating solutions to give guidance to their implemented work. Based on the context of supervision, they are also able to make a personal reflection on their service delivery towards children and families along with organizational support (Danseco, Barber, Brown & Carter, 2017).

Secondly, a strategy of periodic adjustments works positively in such scenarios. It is recommended that periodic changes are made to resources, services, support as well so that goals and justice objectives are met best. By doing a continuous review, youth service officers can come up with scenarios where there is a need to change solutions based on new problems or complexities witnessed. With the gradual unfolding of intervention, new data and information can come out and be explored as well. All these might have needed adjustment of the justice delivery system for a successful outcome. Every person and family are unique. Hence, a good practice to evolve strategies to that the best solution can be given is a general good practice of self-improvement strategy.

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