Serious crimes such as murder, burglary and rape have raised questions as to whether the young offenders should face severe punitive treatment or the normal punitive measures in juvenile courts. Many would prefer the juveniles given harsh punishment in order to discourage other young people from engaging in similar activities and to serve as a lesson to these particular offenders. However, results from previous studies indicate such punitive measures were neither successful nor morally acceptable. Instead, the solutions achieved have unfairly treated the youths and compromised the society status (Kristin, page 1). Several studies conducted to determine impacts of transfers of cases from juvenile courts to adult criminal courts for trial and potential sentencing indicate higher recidivism rates among the offenders.
Understanding children’s mental and emotional development is crucial for developing an effective system of adjudicating and rehabilitating the offender. DJS.state.md.us finds that, in the nineteenth century trying youths separately from their adult counterparts became an apparent necessity. Social reformer’s attempts noted that sentencing a child in adult (criminal) court could yield a worse fate for the child than if the court took an alternate tack. Prior to 1899, when the initial juvenile court was founded, a young delinquent was treated as an adult regardless of their untested decision-making abilities. “The primary difference between juvenile courts and adult courts was that the juvenile courts were ‘civil’ in nature while adult courts were ‘criminal’.” (djs.state.md.us) Rehabilitative procedures remained steady until the 1980s when juvenile crime made a violent upsurge, instigating public opinion to deviate from genteel practices.
This paper describes the various legislations and movements that were established in 19th century to address the issue of juvenile justice system. It outlines the challenges faced by the legislation and movements and their implications in addressing the issues of the juvenile justice system. Late eighteenth and early nineteenth century was the beginning of creating a difference in the way delinquents were handled. Historically, an offender who was above seven years of age was imprisoned together with the adults. Though an offender who was between seven and fourteen years of age was presumed as one who is not able to form the required criminal intent it gave the prosecutor room to prove otherwise.
According to Mack (1909) the focus of the juvenile justice system has shifted from “how can we help the child”, “why did the child commit the crime” to “was the crime committed”. According to Griffin (2008) in some cases juveniles may be required to be “transferred” to adult court. The prerequisites for transfer to adult court are the duty to protect the public from violent youths, serious crime, and the lack of rehabilitation chance from the juvenile court. According to Flesch (2004) many jurisdictions handle the issue of serious juvenile crime by charging juveniles as adults. Charging a juvenile as an adult is done by a method which is called waiver to adult court.
The other issue deals with the amount of delinquent minorities that get arrested after one offense compared to the white delinquents who receive second chances. The use of solitary confinement for juveniles is not an effective way to punish their bad behavior while in a detention center. The videos proved that solitary adds additional issues to already existing issues. One of the biggest issues with the juvenile justice system is what happens with the kids after they leave the detention centers. They may be put on probation/ parole, which may monitor them slightly, but they generally stay in the environment where they first offended.
Juvenile delinquency is a serious problem and leads to negative outcomes for youth, families, and society as a whole. Adolescents under the age of 18 who are arrested for committing a criminal act are processed through a juvenile justice system. The juvenile justice system is grounded on the principle that the youth have different needs than adults. During adolescence, youth are forming their identities and still developing mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally. Due to their early stages of development, juveniles who violate the law should be treated differently than adults.
It’s about holding them accountable for their actions by placing them in adult jails to set an example for others, a deterrence. The problem lies in ignoring the general separation the law has in housing juveniles and adult offenders separately. Juveniles should be tried and sentenced separately because their cognitive learning and correctable behavior will be different than that of an adult. According to the Texas Law Review (2004), “Juvenile courts recognize two main kinds of juvenile offenses. Juvenile crime is simply criminal activity committed by a juvenile.
The literature shows the nations children who deviate from the norm are presumed to be deviant and treated like its adult criminal population. Teenagers, kids, adolescents are presumed to be treated as if they are of age. What is lost is the cognitive development and nourishment when such negative actions occur. The basic and fundamental formative academics that have shown effectiveness are not being implemented into the sanctions for these juvenile offenders. There is a linear correlation between low education obtainment levels, mental illness and juvenile offending and recidivism.
However, the Juvenile Justice system was developed by states because of the demographics in cities. In the 1800s, the state seeing the developing cites and the effect it was having on the young population, they had to develop a system control the youths. The states were now actively practicing the concept of “parens patriae.” Initially, child offenders above the age of seven were treated and incarcerated like common offenders. Since then some of the objectives that have been set for the juvenile justice system have included the “rights of youth,” creating a hate among the youth towards jail terms, and compliance with the “due process of law” has made the system harsh and in some cases inhuman. The earliest Reformatory Refuge was built in 1824 ... ... middle of paper ...
The main focus of the period was, “Shift from medical (treatment) model to justice model and “get tough” attitude; “best interests” of society gained ascendancy over those youths; Supreme Court approves of preventive detention for youths-Schall decision (1984); emphasis on deterrence and just deserts.” (Hess, Orthmann and Wright) As times have changed, so has the actions and crimes of juveniles. Juveniles are presently doing more drugs, using alcohol, as well as school shootings and other crimes within society. In the case of Schall vs Martin (1984), “states have the right to place juveniles in preventive detention to protect society when the juvenile is dangerous.” (doctor.com) When a juvenile is to be dangerous for a crime that they have committed, it is best that they are to be detained within a juvenile facility until their time of trial, to face the crime that they were to commit. The period that I think was the most influential to the evolution of the juvenile justice system is, The Crime Control Period (1980- Juvenile Justice History Present). I state this because, all five periods of juvenile justice history are important and each has served as a good and basic foundation from one period to the next.