For this discussion board, you’re going to discuss violence affecting youth; it is a “preventable, public health crisis in the United States” (Cohen et al., p. 235). Consider that children are 3x more

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For this discussion board, you’re going to discuss violence affecting youth; it is a “preventable, public health crisis in the United States” (Cohen et al., p. 235). Consider that children are 3x more likely than adults to be victims of violence. How can we address this public health crisis? What do we need and need to do? The following is from your Korin text, Chapter 12 (pp 237-238):

So far, the vast majority of US violence-related efforts have focused on after-the-fact programs. Historically, society has relied almost exclusively on the criminal justice system to respond to violence. This approach has been rooted in a few assumptions: (1) violence is an individual’s criminal choice; (2) punishment or the threat of punishment is both warranted and a deterrent to violent acts; and (3) violence is an inevitable aspect of the behaviors of some people.

Law enforcements’ goal and role, for the most part, is the identification, prosecution, and punishment of violent offenders, the result of which is an immense criminal justice and incarceration system. While few disagree that policing is an important piece of addressing violence, a prescription to treat violent crime that focuses primarily on criminal justice is not only insufficient and often ineffective and inhumane, it’s expensive and often contributes to the cycle of violence. The emphasis on the incarceration of youth in the United States is far greater than in any other country (Redburn, Travis, & Western, 2014). Approximately 93,000 young people are held in juvenile facilities across the country with 70% at state-funded institutions at an average cost of 240 dollars per inmate, per day (Justice Policy Institute, 2009). California spends almost $180,000 per year per inmate (Legislative Analyst’s Office) in its juvenile justice system and less than $8500 per year per K-12 student (California Department of Education, 2013). y the age of 23, nearly a third of US youth have been arrested for an offense other than a minor traffic violation (Goode, 2011).

Despite the fact that the juvenile justice system was created with a fundamental belief in the potential for prevention and rehabilitation among children, its major responsibility is punishment, which has not been shown to be effective for addressing violent behavior or for preventing further violence. Many incarcerated youth are put away for nonviolent crimes and return home with fewer opportunities, increased trauma, and reduced connections to their communities (Campaign for Youth Justice, 2011). Additionally, too many states ignore the evidence of the negative long-term impacts of incarceration on children and, in fact, incorporate youth into the adult criminal process (Campaign for Youth Justice, 2011).

The realities of violence beg for strategies beyond aggressive, traditional efforts that blame and punish. This requires a more comprehensive set of prevention activities – changes in social norms, organizational practice, public education, and policy – as well as cooperation between multiple partners, including public health and criminal justice.

Reflect on what you’ve read and learned so far in this course. Then reflect on the paragraphs above. The author identifies three assumptions that have rooted our approach to relying on the criminal justice system to address violence. Critically think about those three assumptions. Are these assumptions accurate – why or why not? Consider who is more likely to be punished in our criminal justice system. Consider disparities in how punishment is enforced. Support your stance with academic resources. This is a short question but one that requires depth of thought. Your response should be substantive, well-supported, and above all respectful. We can discuss hard facts and societal challenges without using stigmatizing and judgmental language.

What do you believe we can do to address this public health crisis of violence? What do we need and need to do as individuals, as a community, and as a country? What opportunities and barriers do you see?

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