Juvenile Delinquents Tried as Adults

Topics: Crime, Juvenile delinquency, Criminology Pages: 5 (1711 words) Published: April 25, 2011
Through many different sources of research, I have come with a strong argument that states that juvenile delinquents should be treated as teenagers and not as an adult. Many will argue that everyone should be treated the same but evidence shows that courts have always treated crimes by a case to case study. Introduction

In the law, a juvenile is defined as a person who is not old enough to be held responsible for criminal acts. In most states the normal age is 18. In Wyoming a juvenile is a person under the age of 19. In some states a juvenile is a person under the age of 17, and in Connecticut, New York, and North Carolina, a juvenile is a person under the age of 16. These age definitions are significant because they determine whether a teenager accused of criminal conduct will be charged with a crime in adult court or will be required to appear in juvenile court (Bower, 2007). Juvenile courts generally have authority over three categories of children: juveniles accused of criminal conduct; juveniles neglected or abused by their parents or in need of assistance from the state; and juveniles accused of a status offense. This last category refers to the behavior that is prohibited only to children, such as absence from school , runaway from home, disobedience of reasonable parental controls, and purchase of alcohol, tobacco, or pornography (Musiani, 2006). Children in need of services are ones who are not abused or neglected but are needy in some other way. These children are usually from impoverished homes and require improved nutrition and basic health care. The question here is should children under a certain age, be tried for a crime as an adult or should they remain in the juvenile system. Background

Juvenile crime is a serious problem. The facts are grim: the number of juvenile murderers has tripled to 3,100 since 1984, and 125,000 youths are charged each year with a serious violent crime (Nair, 2009). One in five people are arrested for a violent crime is

seventeen years old or less, although kids ages five to seventeen represent only 15.5 percent of the population (Bower 2009).
Since the juvenile court was started more than a hundred years ago, a basic assumption underlying the juvenile court has been that juvenile offenders should not go through the adult criminal courts. The juvenile court was created to handle juvenile offenders on the basis of their youth rather than their crimes. The purpose of juvenile court is treatment and guidance rather than punishment (Towers 2006). During the 1980s and 1990s, the public called for getting tough with juveniles and trying them as adults. Many states passed laws making it easier to try certain youthful offenders as adults; some states considered the proposal of abolishing juvenile courts (Watson, 2006).

The juvenile court is founded on false premises
Virtually everyone except those employed in it recognizes the juvenile court’s failure. The system is founded on false premises because it intends to shield youths from the consequences of their own actions. The first juvenile court was created in Chicago in 1899 (Bower 2006).The idea quickly spread across the nation, promoted by the same Progressive movement that earlier had pushed such reforms as rehabilitation, probation, parole, and the indeterminate sentence.

A crime is a crime
The results of an action is the same no matter how we treat the offender. The fact of the matter is that the harms against society are the same no matter the motives or the actor. It is the responsibility of society acting in it's duty of justice to treat all offenders equally without exemption for any one group (Towers, 2006) Furthermore, the juvenile justice system is a slap on the wrist compared to the adult justice system, with a majority of juvenile offenders stating that the chance of being considered as adults may have caused them to not commit their crime. In addition, giving juveniles separate treatment...
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