Before the modern era, youth who committed crimes in the Western world received no preferential treatment because of their age. These children were adjudicated, punished, and confined alongside adult offenders. In more recent years the juvenile justice system has maintained different priorities than those that exist in the adult criminal justice system. However, there are still many get tough advocates of law and order, many of whom are fed up with violent juvenile crime, that are increasingly questioning the philosophy that underlies the juvenile justice system in America. Many people call for harsher punishments while others call for better rehabilitation programs for youth offenders. This paper will focus on the differences between the adult and juvenile justice systems, and whether rehabilitation or incarceration is the best method to assist in reducing the juvenile crime rate and help today’s youth become contributing members of society.
Rehabilitation is known as the attempt to reform a criminal offender by the restoration of his or her former condition of usefulness to society. Generally speaking, rehabilitation is the primary objective of the juvenile court system, however, there are those that are sentenced to incarceration as punishment for his or her criminal act. Punishment as opposed to rehabilitation seeks to instill fear in to an individual so that, he or she is deterred from committing future criminal acts. The juvenile justice system maintains different priorities than exist in the adult criminal justice system. For example, a juvenile is not found guilty of a crime but rather is adjudicated an offender. Although punishment is an element of the juvenile justice system, the primary focus is on rehabilitation. The question is, which is a more efficient means of helping juvenile offenders? To answer this question, it is important to understand the differences between the adult and juvenile justice court systems. The criminal justice...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document