Juveniles and Punishment:
Should Juveniles Delinquents
be tried as Adults in the Criminal Justice System?
Diversity in Criminal Justice
Professor: Jonas Oscar
December 10, 2011
The question have been raised on whether or not juveniles should be treated the same as adults in the Criminal Justice System This study will first indicate whether juveniles should be trialed as an adult based on age and the offences they commit. Secondly; this study will give details of an actual occurrence, where a juvenile was sentenced to a life term due to his gruesome act, which left two individuals dead. This study will also show two very important things to consider when dealing with juveniles, what can happen to juveniles who are exposed to prison lifestyles and how this can affect their overall thinking.
There are many youth advocates working against the prosecution of youths as adults, such as the campaign for youth justice. The Juvenile Justice Project at UCLA Law School released this literature review on the Impact of Prosecuting Youth in the Adult Criminal Justice System. This report was commissioned by the Campaign for Youth Justice, and provides an update to the previous literature review published by the Youth Law Center in 1995. The report compiles the latest research and reveals the harmful effects of transferring youth to the adult criminal justice system, where facilities are ill-equipped to address youth needs and promote rehabilitation by examining the effects on culpability, probability of incarceration, length of incarceration, location of incarceration, processing time, deterrence, and recidivism. (UCLA, 2010) Last but not least, this study will point out possible alternative solutions for dealing with juvenile delinquent offenders, other than detention or in some extreme cases, even prison. Such alternate facilities focus on rehabilitation other than punishment. Further details of all the previously mentioned circumstances will be given in the paragraphs to follow.
It is not uncommon these days for people to have mixed feelings when it comes to the issue should juveniles be treated and trialed as adults in the criminal court system. More frequently do you hear the saying, “If you do the crime, you pay the time,” there is no indicator of age as far as this is concerned, we must look at it from a more realistic standpoint and ask ourselves the question? Should juveniles be treated as adults based on their age? The following are detailed facts as to why juveniles should in fact be treated as adults, but the bigger picture is what can come of this experience when they are exposed to such conditions like prison. Is it necessary in some cases than others? Statistics show that there almost a quarter million youths who past through the adult criminal justice system every year, across the United States. Other astonishing stats are as follows.
Juveniles who are aware of their actions, like the two young men from Colorado who were convicted of murder and ultimately sentences life terms in prison without the possibility of parole. Some might feel this was a harsh punishment, however before you make your determination, think about the incident which caused this to happen. Before giving a brief description of the case, keep in mind that children, who committed first degree murder in Colorado at the time this incident occurred, could’ve been sentenced under fair law, to life in prison as early as 14 years old. The question then becomes, are some kids too young to be sentenced to life in prison? Here's a look at one memorable story from Southern Colorado. 15-year-old, Jacob Ind and his friend, 17-year-old Gabriel Adams, commenced to murder Ind’s mother and his step father in the early morning hours of December 17, 1992.
Describing the scene of the crime is attorney general John Suthers; the district attorney at the time,” To this day I consider it...
References: Bureau of Justice Statistics: Juvenile Defendants in Criminal Courts; Retrieved on May 22, 2011, from: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/jfdcc.pdf
CliffsNotes: Should Juveniles Be tried as Adults? Retrieved on May 22, 2011, from: http://www.cliffsnotes.com/wileyCDA/CliffsReviewTopic/topicArticleID-10075.html
Sentencing-Recidivist Enhancement Based on Priors Committed as Juvenile-Cruel and Unusual Punishment (2010, October).Criminal Law Reporter, 88(1), 13. Retrieved May 22 2011; from Criminal Justice Periodicals. (Document ID: 2170665801).
Literature Review on Youth Tried as Adults (July 2010): UCLA Literature Review, 2010 Retrieved; September 13, 2010 from: http://www.campaignforyouthjustice.org/documents/UCLA-Literature-Review.pdf
Campaign for Youth Justice: Youths in the Adult Criminal Justice System; Statistic Retrieved, September 13, 2011 from: http://www.campaignforyouthjustice.org/national-statistics.html
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