Juveniles Incarcerated with Adults
Today I will be speaking about juveniles incarcerated with adults. Are adolescents really prepared to live in an environment with adults? 'They may be sentenced as adults but they're still adolescents.
The move to punish youthful offenders as adults came in response to a steep rise in the juvenile murder rate in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Teenage prisoners were increasingly seen to be as morally culpable and responsible as adults. Forty-five states passed or amended legislation to send not only violent young offenders, but also teenagers convicted of burglary and drug offenses, into the adult system. Those who are ultimately incarcerated in adult jails are often the victims of violent assault and suicide, and are 34 percent more likely to be re-arrested than those retained in the juvenile system. Once juveniles have been arrested and accused of serious crimes, certain factors need to be considered: - Juveniles age 15 and younger are significantly more likely than older adolescents and young adults to be impaired in ways that compromise their ability to serve as competent defendants in a criminal proceeding. - Children accused of serious crimes should undergo full medical, including psychiatric, evaluation. - Children who commit serious crimes are often the victims of neglect and abuse. In each case, there should be an inquiry into the child's history and circumstances to determine whether signs of abuse, neglect, and/or psychiatric problems were overlooked until the alleged crime occurred. - Children should not be subjected to isolation, which is a form of punishment that is likely to produce lasting psychiatric symptoms. There is a lack of data on rape, suicide, and assault rates among juveniles who are sentenced to adult prisons or the numerous amounts of children who pass through the jail system every year. The most recent American study on juvenile suicide in adult institutions and youth facilities in...
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