One aspect of juvenile justice that I found to be extremely significant is the development of a separate court system. The very first juvenile court took place in cook county of Chicago Illinois. The legal basis for the jurisdiction of the court was Parens Patriae. This doctrine set the foundation for the intervention in the lives of troubled youth. Parents were expected to possess the ability to control and punish their children, however when it became apparent that some was unable to adequately accomplish this task; the state was given authority to do so. The purpose of the juvenile court system was to transform juvenile delinquents into upstanding citizens through the implementation of treatment instead of adult punishment. In fact the terminology is significantly different from what is associated with adults. For instance Juveniles are charged with acts of delinquency and not crimes. They are adjudicated instead of being found guilty and sent to reform schools instead of prisons.
Another aspect of the juvenile justice system that I found to be extremely interested in is the introduction of juvenile diversion programs. This is a strategy that is utilized as means of an intervention technique that holds youth offenders accountable, without going through all the court proceedings. This also ensures that first time offenders are free from labels that will potentially follow them for the rest of their life. One major aspect of this program is that it only pertains to first time non-violent offenders, juveniles who have committed serious violent offenses are not eligible for entrance into any type of diversion program even If is the very first crime that they have ever commented. These diversion programs have been great in deterring future crime with first time offenders
The constitution is referred to as a set of guidelines within the criminal justice system. It is it’s also known as the absolute law that determines how the United States is governed and how laws are enforced. When discussing ways in which the constitution has contributed to the criminal justice system and its relevance to the death penalty; three exponentially important cases come to mind. The first court case I will discuss is Furman vs Georgia of 1973. In this case the argument was regarding whether the death penalty was in violation of the 8th and the 14th amendment rights. The Supreme Court’s ruling was, due to the nature of which the death penalty was inflicted, it does in fact constitute as cruel and unusual punishment thus leading to its suspension for a few years. The next court case that will be discussed is Gregg vs Georgia of 1796. In this case the Supreme Court ruled that as long as the death penalty is given pertinently in accordance with the severity of the crime; it is not unconstitutional to sentence someone to the death penalty. The final court case, Coker vs Georgia, involves whether the death penalty should be invoked for rape. The Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty would be unconstitutional because it does not appropriately fit the crime that was committed. These court cases helped set the premise for how we approach death penalty cases from here on out.
Throughout the course of learning about the criminal justice system I have taken with me many concepts that have helped to mold my general understanding of the criminal justice system in ways in which I never would have imagined. I am extremely grateful for the time I have spent here at the university.
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