Juvenile Justice Essay Research Paper Juvenile JusticeThe

Juvenile Justice Essay, Research Paper Juvenile Justice The Juvenile Justice System as it typically functions in America’s thousands of jurisdictions is the subject that will be covered. The Juvenile

Juvenile Justice Essay, Research Paper

Juvenile Justice

The Juvenile Justice System as it typically functions in America’s

thousands of jurisdictions is the subject that will be covered. The Juvenile

Justice System is defined as that “sociolegal process having responsibility and

authority for public reaction to current juvenile delinquency and deterrence of

future juvenile delinquency, including within that process the public and

private agents, agencies, laws, rules, and policies having to do with juvenile

delinquency”(Weiner, 1987, p.12). This paper will deal with the history of the

juvenile system, the need for the juvenile system, juvenile court functions,

parents in court and programs that have worked, along with ones that haven’t.

Because the first formal juvenile court was so labeled on July 1, 1899,

which would make the Juvenile Justice System nearly a century old. However, the

origins of the various components of the JJS go back much further than that.

The notion of separate treatment for children under criminal law goes back to a

very early English law. Children under seven years of age were legally

incapable of committing a crime, and children between seven and fourteen were

presumed incapable, this concept being based upon a child’s inability to have a

guilty mind, or mens rea. Thus, from almost the beginning children have been

treated differently from adults who commit the same acts.

The origin of juvenile corrections in the United States goes, back at

least to the opening of the New York House of Refuge in 1825. This house of

refuge was established to meet the same kinds of needs the JJS of today tries to

meet, including avoidance of harsh criminal penalties for unfortunate children,

segregating “predeliquent” children from hardened delinquents, providing

“proper” moral, ethical, political, and social values and role models for

deprived children, and treating such children as victims rather than offenders.

This is the main reason why we do need the Juvenile Justice System.

The function of the juvenile court system is to take a somewhat fatherly

and protective attitude toward children, whether to offer humanitarian

assistance or parental punishment. Juvenile court was primarily established

however by a desire to avoid prisons for children by establishing special

juvenile court which would not send children to prison. The juvenile court is

also used to somewhat scare the young offender with its dark wooden atmosphere

and flags to represent how alive the government is. The courts main function

however is to find the best rehabilitation method for that individual. Should

it be community service, a curfew or counseling, these are just a few options

the court has in sentencing a young offender.

Parents play a big role in the Juvenile Court System. With the parents

at the court hearing, the court can find out if the parent is providing a good

home for the juvenile delinquent. The parents also help out in making the

decision of rehabilitation, with there past experiences that they bring to the

court about the juvenile. Parents can also help out in supervision of the

juvenile while he or she is on orders from the court. Most of all, parents are

there for moral support of there children and help them get through this

difficult run in with the law.

The best treatment for many offenders, diversion supporters argue, is

little or no treatment. This is the case when an offender is young and charged

with nothing more than serious than a status or minor property offense. For

these types of youthful offenders and perhaps others, diversion away from the

juvenile justice system is thought to be the most effective method of

controlling delinquency. This way the juvenile does not get a delinquent self-

image and stigmatize them in the eyes of significant others.

Some of the programs that are currently being used are Probation, “Scared

Straight”, Community Treatment, and Institutionalization. Probation currently

is the most frequently employed sentencing option. Each year approximately 70

percent of the juveniles adjudicated delinquent by the juvenile justice system

courts are sentenced to probation. “Scared-Straight” juveniles were taken to

state prisons for intensive confrontation sessions with adult inmates serving

long term or life sentences. Using there own experiences as examples, inmates

told juveniles of the harsh realities of imprisonment. The purpose was to scare

the juvenile straight. Community-based Treatment programs for probationers

stand midway between the loose supervision of routine probation and the secure

custody characteristic of most correctional facilities for juvenile offenders.

Community based programs typically provide more extensive assistance and

stricter enforcement of the conditions of probation. Institutionalizing

juveniles to public or private correctional facilities has been rehabilitate

the young offender. Correctional facilities routinely offer academic and

vocational instruction in hope that better-educated and vocationally skilled

inmates will be less dependent upon release. Most institutions also supplement

these routine efforts with special programs, such as alcohol and other drug

counseling.

Although the Juvenile Justice System is far from perfect, it is doing a

very good job with the resources that it has. Maybe over time and better

understanding of the human mind, we will be able to treat juveniles more

effectively.

Works Cited

Little, Michael (1990). Young men in prison. Vermont: Dartmouth.

Lundman, Richard J. (1993). Prevention and control of juvenile

delinquency. New York: Oxford University Press.

Quay, Herbert (1987). Handbook of juvenile delinquency. New York: Wiley-

-Interscope Pub.