Juvenile crime is increasing in the 21st century rapidly and the severity of crimes are becoming more heinous. The juvenile justice court system is different from the regular adult criminal justice system. Adult criminal court is for serious offenses and meant for persons over the age of 18. With juveniles committing more crimes than in past years, we are now seeing crimes that you would think were committed by an adult. Age in the criminal justice system is not as important as you would think. However, it is becoming more common for juveniles to be sent to adult court due to the severities of there crimes. Most of the time when a person goes to adult court, the charges are not lightened, and jail/prison time is sentenced. How often is it that juveniles are transferred to adult criminal court? Does the age have a role in the sentencing or transfer of the juvenile? What crimes classify as severe enough to go to adult court? Overall, what are the pros and cons of the juvenile criminal justice system? With the youth being our future leaders of America, through the juvenile criminal court system we can aide juveniles back to living a healthy and positive lifestyle.
In the juvenile justice system, it is seen as a rehabilitative model for young adults. This is one of the pros that we see in the system. Juveniles and adult are treated differently in rehab. This is due to the maturity level and comprehending what is happening. If a juvenile was tried and convicted of a crime in adult court, then why should they be rehabilitated any differently? Many people have argued that by helping a juvenile through rehabilitation services, it is instead having the opposite effect. Once a juvenile has been a criminal or delinquent, we are labeling them before we even know it. Therefore, this child regardless of the age or crime is going to be a delinquent by future employers, friends and family. Studies have shown that, delinquency is not so much an act of individual deviancy. (Simpson, 1976) The juvenile does make his/her decisions for themselves, but they are easily influenced by their peers or peer groups. The peer pressure of having to fit in with the popular kids or participate in the acts they are. This creates trouble for the juvenile and often the cause of their crime is when they were with this peer group. Rehabilitation is the opportunity to rid of any toxic behaviors or people in the offender’s life. There different methods of rehab and they include parole which leaves the offender in society but allows them to change freely under certain guidelines. The second way is substance abuse treatment for those that are dealing with addiction and that’s causing their criminal activity. Drug addiction is hard to get help with, but rehab gives these offenders the opportunity to get clean. The last option and the one that gets used the most is in-prison treatment of offenders. Prisons now offer programs to offenders for certain things. This means that the offender will serve his sentence, but still have the luxury of doing rehab. Rehabilitation does have the chance to assist the offender and create a better lifestyle for themselves.
With repeat offenders in the juvenile justice system it creates issues within the cases. Juveniles are becoming repeat offenders and the court systems are trying to take the necessary next steps to help them. Sadly, most of these juvenile offenders are being arrested for the same crimes due to the same peer groups or actions. This makes it frustrating for rehabilitation to be used when, these offenders have already been through rehab and still come back. It is abusing the rehabilitation methods. Should a repeat juvenile offender be transferred to adult court to receive a harsher sentence in hopes that this will change their ways? Most juveniles still find there ways back to the court system and it is a never-ending battle for life.
Court dates, sentencing and personal information often come with maintaining the confidentiality of the juvenile offenders. Confidentiality is taken very seriously and any breech of it can have serious consequences. These records that are for certain persons are kept confidential in terms of protecting the juvenile that is on trial. When a juvenile is on trial for a crime that is committed, we never think about the family of the victim. The juvenile justice system pushes for extreme crimes to gain justice. The Sixth Amendment provide important rights for criminal defendants, including the right to a speedy and public trial, to a trial by an impartial and local jury, to be informed of the charges against him, to be confronted by witness against him, to compulsory process for obtaining witnesses, and to have a lawyer. (CrisvinI65, 2018) The defendant will have everything he/she needs for a case. This is where the confidentiality of the defendant is important. The family of the victim may be trying to intrude into the case or be overbearing towards the individual themselves. Extreme crimes that look for the upmost justice would include murder, rape, conspiracy, arson etc. Bringing justice to the family and then also the defendant is the goal of each case. However, to keep things in order the confidentiality must be maintained to assist in outcomes in the juvenile criminal system.
Juveniles that have committed heinous and despicable acts towards others are heavily reviewed by the courts. This is done to determine if the juvenile’s crime is worthy of going to adult criminal court or if it stays in juvenile. In the late 1900s, we saw the rise of violent crime and it shifted the political emphasis to being tough on crime. (Scialabba, 2016) This was the start of focusing on the differences with juvenile and adult court. The cons of being tried as an adult when being under the age of 18 and being a juvenile is that the laws and regulations are much harsher in adult court. The judges are limited to what they can charge and sentence with. The juvenile court system is maintained to keep rehabilitation in constant motion, but the adult system is designed to give harsh sentences to the worst of the worst. Age has always been a topic of discussion when juveniles are under review for adult court. The age 17 seems to be the age that is viewed the most. Judges in adult court do not have the chance to be light on sentencing since it is more focused on incarceration verses rehabilitation. Juvenile court was intended to serve as a deterrent for rising youth violent crime. (Scialabba, 2016) Instead this study went completely wrong. The offenders that were sentenced to their terms and in hopes of scaring the juvenile offenders it would make this their last offense. However, the recidivism rates increased, and the repeat offenders were most likely to come back. Many still disagree with the age requirements, because juvenile court is much more lenient, and it is the way to rehabilitation. Juvenile court systems stay away from harsh punish but adult court does not hold back on sentencing. The severity of the crime must play a role in the decision of whether being tried as an adult. This means the age is irrelevant and this juvenile could get a sentence to life, or serious charges. Adult criminal court system does not give second chances and prison/jail times are the ways of self-rehabilitation.
The juvenile criminal justice system is detailed but complicated. Each step that has been created from the foundation up to better juveniles that come in the system needing help. The pros and cons that are listed as above are only a few samples that come with the juvenile system. Rehabilitation is the center point of the juvenile system. Allowing juveniles to receive help through programs and have mentors to guide them throughout it. This aide acts as a parental guide also, which is influential in certain cases. Juvenile crime is still increasing today, but the rate of rehabilitation is showing success. It seems as if the pros outweigh the cons from the court system. Research regarding the age limitations is scarce but it is necessary due to the violence we are seeing today. There is always room for reform in the court systems, both juvenile and adult. Ultimately, the juvenile criminal system does not correct all the mistakes they make but it does help deter those choices.
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