Professor Eliza Gordner
October 11, 2010
America attempts to maintain social control through the use of a multi-constituent system called the criminal justice system. Each constituent is designed to work together in an attempt to provide justice for criminal behavior and the victims of the offender. It also provides for the protection of the accused through the process of a fair trial. Throughout history, one group America has focused on in an attempt to keep social control has been its youth. Over the centuries, philosophies and theories have changed the way the nation deals with its youth in its attempt to keep social control. It would appear that in many cases America has gone from keeping social control to attempting to regain it as America’s jails and prisons are overcrowded. This paper will attempt to discuss all aspects of the criminal justice system through the eyes of the juvenile justice system as the youth have been and always will be the future of our country.
A disconcerting element of juvenile justice is the cyclical pattern of reform and retrenchment. These cycles follow the apparent rise and fall of juvenile crime rates. Society cannot seem to decide what the best approach is for the most effective results in crime prevention. For this reason policy makers do not know whether a youth should receive treatment or punishment so the system bounces back and forth between the two in indecision. The confusion and uncertainty within the Juvenile Justice System and the inability to decide whether it should replace the parent, protect the youth, or punish the juvenile offender places the youth at risk of becoming a victim of the system.
In order to understand the confusion regarding the purpose and focus of the juvenile justice system, we need to look at how it came to be and the changes it has made. The American Juvenile Justice System is not... [continues]
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