Ramifications of the Juvenile Justice Waiver

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Social workers in the court room play an major role in helping to decide whether or not a child should be charged as an adult for committing a crime while a minor. A minor being sent to juvenile court does not necessarily mean that the minor will be tried as an juvenile. It is also the responsibility of the court to determine if the minor should stay in juvenile court of be moved into adult criminal court. A social work assigned to the minor as well as the defense attorney, prosecutor, and judge will argue in court to decide the minors fate. This social policy that is used in the court system is known as the Juvenile Justice Waiver.

The Juvenile Justice Waiver is the practice of transferring jurisdiction over a juvenile from juvenile or family court to adult criminal court( Siegel & Welsh, 323). Once waived, the juvenile is treated in the same manner as an adult. The juvenile can be held in an adult jail and, if found guilty, is subject to the same penalties as an adult.

Juvenile waiver provisions have a tremendous impact on a young person's life. Prosecution in criminal court exposes juveniles to the same penalties as adults. They may face a life or death sentence, incarceration in State prison, and a permanent criminal record. Juveniles adjudicated in juvenile proceedings, on the other hand, generally must be released at age 18, receive rehabilitative treatment in a juvenile facility, and may be permitted to have their juvenile records expunged

One of the ideas behind creating the juvenile court system was that children were unlike adults, they can be easily helped if they were turning delinquent. Children in the juvenile court would not be found guilty and be considered convicts like adults, they were be adjudicated delinquent and helped to get back on to the right path. These adjudicated children would not be branded convicts and would not be considered part of the criminal justice system, they would have no criminal record. However, not all children would get this opportunity for help once courts started using the juvenile justice waiver to waive serious juvenile offenses and other juvenile offenders that were found to be seriously delinquent into adult criminal court.

By labeling these juveniles that are waived into adult criminal court as convicts instead of juvenile delinquents, it can seriously impair the child’s future aspects, such as college and employment (Siegel & Welsh, 323). This labeling is the cause for higher recidivism rates among these youthful offenders. Due to the lack of opportunities available to them, since they have little to no chance of going to college or getting a job, they will continue with there crime. This labeling theory creates a social problem. These children who are labeled convicts become repressed through prejudice. Colleges do not want convicts attending their schools and employers do not want convicts working for them. Also children that are trying to be delinquent to get more attention are getting exactly what they are looking for by being waived into adult criminal court. These children need help as the child that they are not the adult that they are trying to be (Kornblum & Julian, 13).

Popular history suggests that in the past children were all handled as adults. However the fact is that children that were in trouble with the law were handled much differently than adults. Before juvenile courts came to be children were handled in accordance with the “Common Law Principle of Responsibility”. Children that were younger than seven years of age were thought to be incapable of having any criminal intent and they could not be sanctioned as criminals. Children that were between that ages of seven and fourteen were considered to be possibly capable of having criminal intent and could possibly be sanctioned as criminals. Those children that were over the age of fourteen were treated as adults and were subject to all criminal sanctions (Blomberg and Lucken, 83). Commonly...
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