A recent analysis conducted by the department has demonstrated a rise in juvenile delinquency offenses committed in the afternoon hours, between approximately 2:30PM and 5:00PM. The recommendation has been made to institute a Police Athletics League (PAL) program in Fictionland with the purpose of providing supervision and interesting activity for otherwise unsupervised juveniles. In order to present a resource plan, we will need to identify five parameters to implement and and maintain the program: Parameter 1 - Target client population; Parameter 2 – Client risk and need assessment; Parameter 3 – Client selection and intake procedures; Parameter 4- PAL program elements; Parameter 5 - Staff training and job descriptions.
- Target Client Population
Fictionland has a similar juvenile arrest rate to Virginia, where 92.7% of juvenile crime is committed by those aged 13-17 (Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, 2006. p. 4). Although many PAL programs target ”youth with slightly higher than normal arrest rates” (IMRP, 2009, p.4), we are looking at additional risk factors (see III.A.), one of these factors is poverty; “About 20 percent of children in the United States live in poverty”(GAO, 1996, p.3). Considering these figures relative to the total population of Fictionland at 68,000, which has a population of 14-17 olds at 5.5% of the total population (U.S. Census, 2012), we can estimate a target population of 748.
- Client risk and need assessment
- Factors for juveniles at-risk for delinquency
- Difficulty concentrating
- Risk taking
- Being male
- Physical violence
- Antisocial attitudes, beliefs
- Crimes against persons
- Problem (antisocial) behavior
- Low IQ
- Substance use
- Poor parent-child relationship
- Harsh or lax discipline
- Poor monitoring, supervision
- Low parental involvement
- Antisocial parents
- Broken home
- Low socioeconomic status/poverty
- Abusive parents
- Family conflict
- Needs of client population
Not all targets will be able to participate in the program. “In some communities and despite good relationships with PAL officers, youth do not feel comfortable acknowledging their involvement in PAL” (Johns Hopkins Center for Adolescent Health, 2004, p.29). Compounding this issue, “Some parents are unable to let go of their negative feelings toward the police based on their prior experiences. Not surprisingly, this distrust affects the relationship between the PAL officers and families. For example, parents may be less willing to participate in Center activities, or even to allow their children to participate in the program.” (Johns Hopkins Center for Adolescent Health, 2004, p. 38)
- Client selection and intake procedures
Due to limited resources, we will be using as many assets in place as we can; in other programs, “Teachers were asked to identify 'at-risk' children in their classrooms and encourage them to join the PAL program” (IMRP, 2009, p. 6). We should should assign one officer as an intake officer and to track participants.
- PAL program elements
Again, as we face limited resources we will be using as many assets I place as possible. In other programs, “school gymnasiums and athletic fields were borrowed as needed “ IMRP 2009,p 6). Thornton, Craft, Dahlberg, Lynch, and Baer suggest the use of juvenile justice facilities and social service facilities (2002, p. 11). Considering the main focus of our recommended program is athletic events, we can also look to use of city recreational facilities as well. In addition, to help in the planning of activities, we can look to the participants themselves; “They point out the talents of the young people as well as a motivation to involve youth in planning activities. Similarly, youth participants also report organizing PAL activities.” (Johns Hopkins Center for Adolescent Health, 2004, p. 43). There would also need to be an outreach function for reaching juveniles no longer in school, as Thorton et al point out the need to to enlist outreach workers to locate and engage high-risk youths, many of whom are no
- Staff training and job descriptions.
- Staffing requirements
In the Baltimore PAL program, the officer to participant ratio was often 50 to 1; the PAL officers felt that they weren't able to be efficient with those numbers; the Baltimore PAL program assigned 4 to 5 officers per PAL unit, often with overlapping roles.(Johns Hopkins Center for Adolescent Health, 2004). We estimate that a ratio of 25 to 1 would be more effective. This would require 30 officers at this estimate, even assigning each officer additional program duties such as outreach, client evaluation, and intake. At least one officer from the 30 would be needed to administer the program. In addition, one officer would be required to coordinate volunteers and community donations as possible.
- Training Goals
Thorton et al recommend training to intervention programs the following skill-sets (2002, p.22).
- Communication skills
- Team building
- Intervention content
- In addition, coaching and refereeing skills would need to be taught
- Job Description
“Position requires dealing with at-risk youth in a delinquency prevention program. Qualifications as follow: current law enforcement certificate, experience in working with youth or education relating to youth interventions.”
- Element Costs