The Illinois Juvenile Court Act of 1899 was the first juvenile court established in the United States (Locked Up…). The juvenile court was created to handle the offenders on the basis on their rather than their crime. In the 1980’s and 90’s many states passed laws to try teens as adults (Should Juveniles…). The court system served to the minors under the age of sixteen. The courts didn’t typically support disciplinary actions.
Since then, the number of juvenile homicide offenders started to decline until it was the lowest in 2004 where it was 77% less than the 1993 peak (still was at 3.2 per 100,000 citizens) (Stastical Briefing Book, 2010). All of this information shows that juveniles are committing homicide but what we need to find out is how to tell who they are, what they are like, and why they do these things and then we can try to re... ... middle of paper ... ...ative Exploration of Messerschmidt’s Hypothesis. Electronic Journal of Sociology . Levitt, S. D. (2000). The determinants of Juvenile Crime.
Newsweek/Daily Beast, 26 Nov. 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2013. Reaves, Jessica. "Should the Law Treat Kids and Adults Differently?"
Juvenile justice is the area of criminal law for a person not old enough to be held responsible for their criminal actions (“Juvenile Justice”). In most states this kind of categorization is determined by age, set at eighteen years old. In general, juvenile law is governed by state law and most states have an individual juvenile code set in place that contributes to the number of youth in detention centers today (“Juvenile Justice”). Despite the lowest youth crime rates in twenty years, according to Holman and Ziedenberg (2006), hundreds of thousands of juveniles are locked away each year. Detention centers are intended to provide temporary housing for youth who are described as having high risk of re-offence before trial or who are likely to not attend their trial at all.
Prior to the 1800’s children over the age of seven were tried in an adult court and upon conviction went to adult prison. In the nineteenth century it was believed that children lacked the mental capacity that comes with age and should be tried and rehabilitated separate from adults. In 1899 the first juvenile court was founded, in Chicago, with two basic principles. It was believed that juveniles could not be held accountable for their actions and could be rehabilitated. A “get tough” approach has been adopted my many states, one example is California’s Proposition 21, passed in 2000.
“The Justice Department estimates that about 10 percent of all homicides are committed by juveniles under the age of 18. Nearly every year, the FBI arrests more than 33,000 young adults under the age of 18 for offenses,” states Huma Khan in the article “Juvenile Justice: Too Young for Life in Prison?”This leaves us the question: Should juveniles be tried as adults? Juveniles should not be tried as adults because kids are not adults. “Like many states, California allows youth offenders as young as 14 to be transferred from the juvenile system to adult courts. From there, most of the teenagers who are tried as adults and sentenced to life in adult institutions are placed in Level 4 maximum-security prisons that are extremely violent,” according to “Prison Is Too Violent for Young Offenders” by Gary Scott.
For example, teens that are detained can provide information about other crimes, can have an impact in social conditions, and serve as experience; however, it can be negative because teens are still not mature enough for that experience, they are exposed to adult criminals; and they will lose out on getting an education. One of the advantages of detaining teens as adults is that they are taken into custody and questioned for information about any other clubs or gangs with whom they might be involved. There are some programs trying to track down gangs; on of these is the National Gang Center (NGC). “The NGC is the first gang survey in the country that annually catch an average of 300 gang members from teen evidence.” (Howell, 52) Having programs and organizations like this has helped a lot by putting criminals behind bars and straightening them out. Another positive thing about trying juveniles as adults is that those juveniles are taken from their neighborhood, and by doing this it opens the eyes of other teens who are around watching everything that happens.
We must keep in mind that juveniles are youth meaning they are still a child, not an adult and should not be exposed to adult incarceration environment. Although it is cost saving to place juveniles and adults under one facility, it is unethical because they are not built and yet mentally ready and prepared to experience adult facilities. Alternative strategies are available to assist juvenile detainees such as healthcare, education, recreation, and work experience. The Juvenile Court Act of 1899 gave leniency to youth under the age of 16. Placing youth detainees with adult offenders will result in the reduction of rehabilitation services for youth, while increasing the rate of being a victim as a potential prey o... ... middle of paper ... ...the national incidence of juvenile suicide in adult jails, lockups, and juvenile detention centers.
The advocates of the transfer of the juveniles to adult court believe that since the same crime was committed, the same act was done, thus, there is a need to impose the same harsh punishment. In this way, the advocates of this shift believe that... ... middle of paper ... ...treatments which they needed. It cannot in any way be done through adult courts as this will only make the situation of the juvenile to an even worst. References Candace Zierdt, (1999). The Little Engine that Arrived at the Wrong Station: How to Get Juvenile Justice Back on the Right Track, 33 U.S.F.
During those years in jail they can learn and experience how life can officially be in a jail cell if they continue committing more crimes in the future time. When they are released out of jail they need to be sentenced 1-3 years in rehabilitation facility where juveniles under the age of 13 go to turn their life around. In Juveniles Don’t Deserve Life Sentences by Gail Garinger he mentions, “ These children were told that they could never change and that no one cared what became of them. They are denied access to education and rehabilitation programs and left without hope.” We should not throw their key to success without giving them a second chance to better them selves.