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Juvenile justice policies Charlene Lupo USA Finland underage behaviors Fidelity integrity

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Noted by authors Wilson and Petersilia, (2011), there are countless programs within the juvenile system that reduce juvenile delinquency and detention. To produce an effective evidence-based program, clinical trials need to be evaluated again on a specific program, ensure the fidelity and integrity of a proven program, and proof that the current program is consistent with other program outcomes through meta-analysis. With, the United States, just like the adult prison system, incarcerates more juveniles than five other countries such as Canada, Australia, Germany, UK, and Finland (Justice Policy Institute, 2011).

Comparing age of jurisdiction and social responsibility policies between the United States and Finland, there is much contradiction. The United States offers children as young as 16 years of age the opportunity to be accountable for their actions within the criminal justice system with most of the states holding at 17 years of age (Teigan, 2014). Contrary to the Finnish law, any child under the age of 15 shall not be arrested or remanded to custody (Marttunen, 2004).

Emphasizing social change rather than punishment is the major concept and policy between the United States Juvenile Justice System and the Finnish national law. The United States gave birth to the Juvenile Court System in the late 1900s hoping to rehabilitate juvenile delinquency outside of the adult criminal court system. To compare “apples to apples,” statistical data on age distribution between the two countries were needed to establish compatibility. Quite surprisingly, the United States only has 7% more population of individuals aged 15 to 24 than the country of Finland (Finland vs. United States: People Facts and Stats, n.d.). Finland national law does not constitute an offender under 15 years of age to enter prison. The crimes are dealt with in their juvenile punishment statue – where the child welfare and social policy organizations assume the responsibility for counseling, restitution programs, and rehabilitative programs (Ibid). Only crimes conditional for juvenile prison are for youth between the ages of 15 to 20. Whereas, in the United States, over 2,500 juveniles are in prison for life. Understanding that incarceration and imprisonment of juveniles do not offer determent or decreased recidivism, there are programs such as the Youth Reinvestment Grant and Fostering Success Funds sponsored by the National Center for Youth Law (National Center for Youth Law, n.d.) that will propose alternatives to imprisonment for youthful offenders. Of the allotted 40 million dollars to the state of California, local communities for diversion programs of delinquent youth,


Finland vs. United States: People Facts and Stats. (n.d.). Retrieved from…

Marttunen, M. (2004). Finland / The basis of finnish juvenile criminal justice. Revue

Internationale de Droit pénal, vol. 75, (1), 315-335. doi:10.3917/ridp.751.0315.

National Center for Youth Law. (n.d.). Youth diversion funding available in 2019. Retrieved


Teigan, A. (2014). Juvenile age of jurisdiction and transfer to adult court laws. Retrieved from


Wilson, J. Q., & Petersilia, J. (2011). Crime and public policy. New York, NY: Oxford

University Press.

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