Juvenile Justice System Research Paper. Sample Essay on Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile delinquency is a serious hazard to the current and future safety of US culture. Although the results of criminal offences are exactly the same, some would argue your problem is far more complicated and demands more consideration that adult crooks. That is, the character and circumstances of juvenile delinquency raise into discussion a few primary inherent ethical and ethical problems:

First, since kids and adolescences are alot more responsive to ecological stress, you need to carefully look at the motives of a young criminal. Including, a kid who cannot pay for a status sign (age.g. fashion brands) would be vulnerable to theft, as he perceives this product as a critical (in other words. a need as opposed to a want) social barrier. Exactly the same is valid for any other types of unlawful offense such as drug use and violence.

Second, minors are generally less experienced; consequently, their perception about negative and positive differ from adults, and they're much more sensitive to manipulations. Discussing the defenses in perception between minors and grownups, Justice Kennedy noted that “the same faculties that render juveniles less culpable than adults suggest aswell that juveniles is supposed to be less prone to deterrence.” (2005)

Third, one must consider the advantages of punishment and isolation of a criminal contrary to the ramifications of imprisonment on a teenager, who does, most probably, integrate in a culture with a developed unlawful culture. It is hence a sound assumption that many associated with young prisoners are growing up into a life of criminal activity.

All those factors as well as others mean that the juvenile justice system is coherently distinctive from the adult unlawful justice system.

The explanation for behind offering unique control with young offenders is the idea of parens patriae (the state as moms and dad). This doctrine shows that it's the duty of this state to guard and nurture kids when their parents neglect to do so. Therefore, when a commits a crime, he should get a treatment versus a punishment, and the legislator must make sure that the justice system considers the well—being regarding the certain offender more deeply versus severity for the offense. This process aims to alter one’s span of criminal behavior and also to turn their into a productive resident as time goes by.

1st juvenile court ended up being created in Chicago in 1899. Until then, minors above seven years had been taken to test in a typical criminal court, although some nations have operated designated prisons for juvenile offenders. Through the following 50 years, the courts have actually evolved to a significantly various form from remaining portion of the system. Most importantly ended up being the multidimensional approach towards the kid, tailoring rehabilitation programs which most useful fit his specific situation. Sometimes, however, young offenders were tried in unlawful courts, as some still occurs today.

But this method didn't prove it self as a highly effective solution the rising crime rates among youth. Consequently, the contemporary juvenile justice system is comparable in a variety of ways to unlawful courts. Snyder & Sickmund provide a synopsis the main modifications, which may have created the existing situation associated with system: (2006)

The Juvenile Delinquency Prevention and Control Act of 1968 while the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, both stress the importance of separation between noncriminal (status) offenders and those that are accused with unlawful offences in terms of appropriate treatment. In addition, the functions necessitate deinstitutionalization of the “light” offenders and demand that convicted juvenile will likely be taken from adult jails and prisons.

Further changes in legislation defined a strict line towards young offenders. This approach involved, among others, paid off privacy for test hearings (which characterized the traditional juvenile justice system) and contextual-based recommendation for criminal courts and adult correctional sanctioning (in razor-sharp contrast to your 1974 Act). That's, age alone is no longer the actual only real parameter for the variety of court additionally the subsequent procedures and punishment methods.

These modifications and others, which took place during the 1990s, have actually positively impacted the number of crimes committed by youth and paid off how many juvenile murderers. Because the mid-1990s, that is considered as all-time period of juvenile imprisonment, the amount of inmates under 18 years old has dropped in incremental rate, in terms of both brand new admissions and percentage for the general inmates’ population (Hartney, 2006).

Nonetheless, regardless of the very good results associated with punitive policies over the past ten years, other findings may mean that this line may aggravate the problem eventually. The majority of the critique refers to the tendency to undertake juvenile instances in the adult unlawful justice and lockup systems, which may cause increased criminal tasks in the place of reducing it.

One major indicator for the effectiveness associated with policy is its power to reduce violent offences, which makes up about 62per cent of most juvenile beliefs (Hartney, 2006). Summarizing the view for the Task Force on Community Preventive Services, McGowan et al. suggest several findings, which warn that “transferring juveniles to the adult justice system generally increases, instead of decreases, rates of physical violence among transported youth” (2007).

Finally, although attitudes toward offenders are ambivalent, it seems that the typical approach remains supportive towards keeping the punitive policies regarding the 1990s (Benekos & Merlo, 2008). However, we have to rethink and adjust the policies in mention of empirical evidence, to experience the best effectiveness of preventing juvenile offenders to lifetime crooks.


  • Peter J. Benekos Alida V. Merlo (2008). Juvenile Justice: The Legacy of Punitive Policy. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 6, pp. 28-46.
  • Hartney, C. (2006). Youth under age 18 in the adult criminal justice system. Washington, DC: Nationwide Council on Criminal Activity and Delinquency.
  • McGowan, A., Hahn, R., Liberman, A., Crosby, A., Fullilove, M. Johnson, R., et al. (2007). Impacts on Violence of Laws and Policies Facilitating the Transfer of Juveniles from the Juvenile Justice System to the Adult Justice System: A Systematic Review. United states Journal of Preventive Medicine, 32(4S), pp. S7-S28. Retrieved June 16, 2009 from http://www.edjj.org/focus/TransitionAfterCare/AJPM_TransferReview.pdf
  • Snyder, H. N. & Sickmund, M. (2006). Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report. Retrieved June 16, 2009 from http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/ojstatbb/nr2006/downloads/NR2006.pdf
  • US Supreme Court. (2005). Roper v. Simmons. Retrieved June 16, 2009 from http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/pdf/03-633P.ZO

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