The Juvenile Court System Essay

The Juvenile Court System Essay

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The Juvenile Court System was established in 1899. The goal of the system was to act as parens patriae (the State as parent), which was the rationale for the right of the State to intervene in the lives of children in a manner different from the way it intervenes in the lives of adults. As stated by the U.S. Department of Justice, “The doctrine was interpreted to mean that, because children were not of full legal capacity, the State had the inherent power and responsibility to provide protection for children whose natural parents were not providing appropriate care or supervision,” (1999). A key element of the juvenile justice system is to focus on the welfare of the child and to rehabilitate them so that they do not make similar mistakes as adults.

A person who is under the age of 18 and who commits an act that would have been charged as a crime if they were a adult will typically enter the juvenile justice system as opposed to the adult court system. The age requirements vary from state to state, however 18 is generally the maximum age of juvenile court jurisdiction. The argument to abolish juvenile courts and whether or not they are still useful in today’s society has been extensively discussed in the criminal justice system.

It is my assertion that juvenile courts should not be abolished.

Counter Argument

According to Barry C. Feld in Abolish the Juvenile Court (1999), there are inherent flaws in the juvenile justice system because it cannot act as a social welfare system and also provide criminal social control. Juvenile courts punish delinquents in the name of treatment but deny them protections available to criminals (Feld, 1999). Youths whom judges remove from their homes and incarcerate in intuitions for long peri...


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...t individuals who have been sexually abused are prone to suffer from posttraumatic stress syndrome, depression, anxiety, anger, distrust, flashbacks, and hopelessness. Upon release from prison, victims of prison rape are more likely to become homeless or require government assistance due to the physical and psychological impacts of rape than those who were not raped in prison (Wood, 2005). Juveniles face significant dangers when confined with adults.

Conclusion

Abolishing juvenile courts would do more harm than it would good. Juveniles do not have the capacity to make adult decisions therefore should not be treated the same as adults. Also, moving juveniles to adult facilities puts them at a greater risk of reoffending and being the victims of both sexual and physical abuse. Subjecting juveniles to adult prisons will leave them vulnerable and unprotected.






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