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Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention: A Balancing Act

Balancing Accountability with Responsibility

The concept of balanced and restorative justice defines much of Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Act, which highlights such factors as supervision, care, rehabilitation, protection of the community, and responsible and productive membership in communities. 

Balanced and restorative justice adheres to the following principles:

  • The citizens of Pennsylvania have a right to safe and secure communities. 
  • A juvenile who commits a crime has an obligation to the victim and the community. 
  • Juvenile offenders should leave the justice system as more responsible and productive
         community members. 
  • Each case in the juvenile justice system is an individual person who requires an individualized
         assessment of relevant information.

Redeeming youth means building competency. This has been defined through a white paper commissioned by PCCD’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee to define and provide guidance as to how system professionals would develop competencies in delinquent youth. Competency development is defined as the process by which juvenile offenders acquire the knowledge and skills they need to become productive, connected, and law-abiding mem-bers of their communities. These fall into five basic domains or skill areas: Pro-Social Skills, Moral Reasoning Skills, Academic Skills, Workforce Skills, and Independent Living Skills.