Life is precious and we live it only once, however, what we do with it is to our own discretion. It is a shame that many people at young ages decide to live a life of misdeeds and become what we call juvenile criminals, but, every action has a consequence and to deal with these unlawful adolescent we have the Juvenile Justice Department. The juvenile justice system is a network of agencies that deal with juveniles whose conduct has come in conflict with the law. These agencies include police, prosecutor, detention, court, probation, and the Department of Juvenile Corrections. However, when young offenders commit a series of crimes, constantly being in trouble with the law, they are waivered into Adult court where they will be subject to any punishment available. In some cases they are waivered into the adult system automatically such as in homicide cases. Being tried as adults exposes these juveniles to state penitentiaries and sentences up to life in prison without parole and even execution. But is this truly effective? Do these juveniles have the capacity to truly understand the crimes they are committing? Is there an age limit for introducing these juveniles into the adult justice system? Is there something or someone behind the acts of these young offenders? These questions leave us wondering if this notion really is effective or is there a better way of handling young criminals. We have seen today in society how crime rates have been sky rocketing and how statistics prove that the majority of the crimes are being done by minors. I believe that when you look into the background of these young delinquents most of them come disproportionately from impoverished single parents homes located in disinvested neighborhoods and have high rates of learning disabilities, mental health, and substance abuse problems and with help of the juvenile justice system they can make a huge turn into a successful transition in to adulthood. Their ages range from twenty and under, most are younger than fifteen years. In Ken Stier’s article, “Getting the Juvenile-Justice System to Grow Up”, in Time Magazine, he affirms the fact that every year, some 200,000 youths are tried, sentenced or incarcerated as adults. He also discusses how many advocates and academics argue that juveniles are not being given enough of a chance to turn their lives around after committing minor offenses. In agreement with Stier, I consider that juveniles have greater possibility than adults to make a change in their lives with the right help, counseling and rehabilitation. Stier also states; there is new brain research showing that the full development of the frontal lobe, where rational judgments are made, does not occur until the early to mid 20s. A deeper look into the psychological aspect of the difference between and adult criminal mind and a minor’s is established in Norman Poythress, Frances J. Lexcen, Thomas Grisso, and Laurence Steinberg article: “The Competence-Related Abilities of Adolescent Defendants in Criminal Court”. Poythress and his colleagues state; “Recognition of immaturity as a legitimate basis for adolescents’ impaired competence-related abilities is consistent with concerns expressed by developmental psychologists that some adolescents may have impaired functional capacities in a legal context due to immature judgment and decision making”. This being they are not fully mentally stable and developed in difference with adults who have full capacity and judgment to their actions this discarding criminal with mental incapacities. They also argue the fact that in most states they do not specifically analyze if a minor is competent to proceed in criminal court as a requirement for judicial waiver unless he or she presents a mental disorder. Not all courts simple waiver them into adult trials some due follow a criteria in order to transfer a juvenile into criminal court. They focus on youths’ danger to the community, inability to rehabilitate in...
Bibliography: Stier, Ken. “Times Magazine.” Getting the Juvenile-Justice System to Grow Up. 24 mar 2009: n. page. Web. 30 Nov. 2011. <http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1887182,00.html>.
Thompson, Tommy G. . “Juvenile law needs to come in to ’90s.” Milwaukee Sentinel. (1992): 8a. Web. 30 Nov. 2011. <http://library.uprm.edu:2352/pqrl/docview/333316933/abstract/1335C911418478E11C2/1?accountid=28498>.
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