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The Juvenile Justice System is not harsh enough Essay Sample

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The Juvenile Justice System is not harsh enough Essay Sample

Did you know that juveniles accounted for almost half the arrests for serious crimes in the United States in 1974 and for less than one-third in 1983? Did you know that recent trends show an increase in arrests of adolescents for murder, assault, and weapon use? The small number of youth who commit the most serious and violent offenses are becoming more and more violent. I found these statistics directly from the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. Statistics show that juveniles are not learning from their mistakes because nothing horrific happens to them. They show that juveniles committing crimes at this time turn out to be the adults in prison for life. More disturbingly, statistics show juveniles are rarely ever completely rehabilitated, which is the number one goal of the Juvenile Justice System.

Some people need more than just a slap on the wrist. Everyone has heard this phrase at least once and it best describes why the Juvenile Justice System is not harsh enough. It is a proven fact that if a person does not get into trouble the first time they do something wrong, they will do it again. In the Juvenile Justice System, juveniles are not penalized for small-time crimes. Police leave it up to the parents to discipline the child, but what if the parents were drunks when they were younger? The violator learns neither lessons nor morals.

Juveniles commit misdemeanors all of the time, but they don’t get caught every time. Juveniles fear police officers, when really the police just want to help. Police are no longer jumping at the bit to put kids in jail. Officers of the law simply want to help juveniles out and keep them out of trouble. Police officers think, “Kids will be kids.” What police don’t know is that this “kid” that stole a bag of chips from Wal-Mart will be committing an armed robbery twenty years down the road.

Juveniles that are committing crimes now usually commit more severe crimes as adults. Last Thursday in Criminal Justice 101, my professor was explaining to me about a trip she took her probation kids on. My professor had the chance to tour a maximum security prison in Maryland. At this prison, her probation kids were sat down in a circle leaving every other chair empty. Lifetime prisoners were then brought into the same room and were seated in the empty chairs. First, the probation kids explained why they were on probation. Then, the lifers explained why they were in prison. Lastly, the lifers told the probationers what they had been doing at that age.

Oddly enough, the probationers and the lifers had done the same things. This particular activity exhibited that adults in the Criminal Justice System were the same “kids” in the Juvenile Justice System. Now why would this ever possibly happen? The Juvenile Justice System isn’t hard enough to deter juveniles from committing another crime. Juveniles are not adults and are not responsible for their decisions, but they know what is right and wrong.

The Juvenile Justice System originated in 1899 in Illinois because people expected the court to act in a parental role for the children instead of having a disciplinary involvement as in adult criminal courts. It was the idea that young people in difference with the law needed care, supervision and discipline without being handled like criminals. Even though the privacy of family relationships were considered a basic right, the state had to get involved for the protection of children from committing crimes. The courts intervened into the child-parent relationship to manage the creation of opportunities for the child to have a family where he or she experienced love and development.

The Juvenile Justice System was created with the goal of rehabilitating the offender. However, there is no 100% way to rehabilitate a juvenile. Juveniles are released to their parents with a bundle of paperwork. It is almost a headache to the police officer to even report the incidents. If the juvenile gives the officer an attitude problem, nothing can be done about it. Everything that goes through the court system is confidential and it is all for the best interest of the child. Everyone in the system, both the prosecutors and the defense, are very cooperative in working for the best interest of the juvenile. Corrections range from foster care to boot camp resulting in most juveniles going on probation.

Juveniles that are put into a corrections facility are not always rehabilitated. The Juvenile Justice System is supposed to help show the juveniles how to function as productive adults in our society. However, very few juveniles learn from their mistakes. Rehabilitation is a hard thing to achieve if the child only has to meet with a probation officer once a week and pass a drug test. Juveniles find ways to bend their probation, and most likely they end up committing more crimes down the road in life.

Lifetime prisoners show a gradual violence development through life in committing crimes. Breaking into cars as a juvenile may lead to grand theft auto as an adult. As a juvenile, offenders are not punished for wrongdoings, therefore they commit other crimes. The Juvenile Justice System is not harsh enough. If the Juvenile Justice System treated juveniles like adults, there would be less and less juvenile delinquents. Less and less juvenile delinquents mean less and less adult offenders. Juveniles would be put into prison for the same crimes that adults commit.

There would be no rehabilitation in either of the Justice Systems. It would be simply deterrence, retribution, and punishment. Crime rates would go down, and there would be more productive juveniles to run the world as adults. However a person looks at this topic, it is easy to see that the System is not harsh enough. If crime rates are high among juveniles, the Juvenile Justice System is not harsh enough. Furthermore, if lifers in prison were juvenile delinquents, the System is definitely NOT harsh enough.

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