Forensic Students Visit Monmouth County Correctional Facility
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On December 15th, a small group of South’s forensic students visited the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold to learn about the daily lives of police officers working in the prison system and their relations to forensics. The group was small, consisting of roughly 15 students, led by Mr. Sullivan, South’s forensic science teacher. During the course of the trip, students got the chance to walk through the prison and cells, seeing inmates and learning about the conditions they live in. Afterwards, students visited the police academy and 911 response center to learn how various legal affairs are conducted. Mr. Sullivan has been taking his students on this trip for several years for its relation to forensics, but many students return home with not only a better understanding of the legal system, but also an increased awareness of prison life and the repercussions of crime. Kate Aharrah, a student who attended this year’s trip, said that getting the opportunity to enter prison cells had a significant impact on her. “That was kind of eye opening because you realize what inmates lives are like in prison and what they see and do everyday”.
Although Mr. Sullivan conducted the trip with a focus on forensics, visiting the prison also helped open students’ eyes to the issue of crime and what police officers and inmates alike have to face daily in the prisons. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, as of 2014 roughly 3,000 out of every 100,000 teenage citizens were arrested in the country. In 1996, numbers reached as high as 8,000 arrests per every 100,000 teenagers. Since then, program development and enforcement have swept the nation, and a new methods of crime prevention have been created and spread nationwide. After much observation and experimentation, researchers found that the key to crime prevention lies within the youth and ensuring they grow up in a safe and protected community that discourages crime. Thus, hundreds of different programs and conferences centered around the nation’s youth were developed and initiated in order to prevent them from turning towards crime in their later years. Locally, not only have South students visited the correctional facility, but many other school districts have incorporated juvenile delinquency prevention into their educational systems. In Toms River, police officers visited fifth grade classrooms to speak to children and create bonds with them, in hopes that they could become positive influences for the youth of the community. Events as small as this can have significant impact on a child’s life and influences.
Nationwide, organizations such as the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) work to spread awareness of the issues the country faces regarding juvenile crime and methods that can be taken in order to prevent crime in the nation’s youth. According to the organization’s 2016 wrap-up, the OJJDP hosts a multitude of conventions and fundraisers to help the troubled youth of the country. Over the fiscal year of 2016, over $283 million dollars in grants were raised by the OJJDP to help improve the nation’s juvenile justice systems. All of the efforts made by the OJJDP are aimed towards ensuring all children in our nation grow up healthy, educated, and free from violence.
Progression of the juvenile justice system is not exclusive to the United States. Organizations such as the International Juvenile Justice Observatory conduct work that not only spread programs to further the youth of the world, but also oversee prison systems nationwide to establish effective forms of correction for under-age citizens convicted of felonies. The IJJO has hundreds of branches of individuals stretching across the globe that focus on different aspects of juvenile justice and crime. Over the years, hundreds of nations around the world have increased their focus and attention towards their youth, realizing that the environment and conditions children grow up with have significant impact on how they will be as adults. Programs and organizations like the OJJDP and the IJJO have been gaining popularity In order to ensure citizens grow up to reach their full potential and that no one is left behind by faulty correctional systems.