December 14, 2009
Juvenile Rehabilitation: Adult Prisons vs. Juvenile Incarceration
The criminal justice system has a branch for juvenile offenders. Established in the early twentieth century; it is the responsibility of this division to decide the fates of youthful offenders. This is administered by family court with support of social workers and family. With the increased number of youthful, violent offenders, many are being processed and sentenced as adults. Important issues such as culpability, severity of the crime, accountability, constitutional rights of the offenders and victims, and probability of rehabilitation, need consideration. When deciding the fate of juvenile offenders, it is important to implement the course of action best suited for the rehabilitation of convicted youth.
The issue of culpability is addressed before trial. It needs to be determined whether the youthful offender is of the mindset to be blameworthy. In other words, is he mature enough to understand his actions and the resulting outcome? One contributing factor for the formation of a separate justice system for juveniles is based on the premise that …”they are less capable of mature judgment than adults and are therefore less culpable for any offenses that they commit…” (Caufman, 2000). Journalist and researcher Maroney ( 2007) stated”They’re developmentally less mature and responsible and more impulsive, erratic and vunerable to negative peer pressure.” This would imply that they have not yet acquired the cognitive functioning as that of an adult. It is a states’ decision at what age a juvenile offender can be treated as an adult. In the majority of states the age is 16 or 17, at which time, the state can chose to prosecute and incarcerate the individual as an adult. There are states that consider the age of maturity to be 12; and a few that refuse to attach an...