Should juvenile offenders be tried as adults?
The nature of human development from juvenile to adult hood coupled with justice and raising juvenile crimes are amongst the things that puzzle many people. The society as a whole does not expect children to be criminals. A dilemma is created with the continuous correlation between the juveniles and criminality world wide, this creates difficulty in solving. This leaves the justice system with two alternatives; either it formulates a means of redefining the juvenile offences or the juvenile be termed as responsible adults liable for their offences.
Most societies in the world have chosen to treat the offences committed by the juveniles as mere delinquent mistakes that can be settled in a separate and more considerate justice system that has been designed with the objective of recognizing the vulnerable status of the juveniles and with a high consideration of their special needs (Wilde, 3). Under this system of justice rehabilitation is highly encouraged over capital punishment that is reserved for the adult criminals.
Psychologically, it has been proved that adults have high levels of competence compared to the juveniles which calls for a gap in the justice system for the two groups. This is further strengthened with the fact that the juveniles have higher potential for change as compared to the adults and therefore should be given a chance to be rehabilitated.
The advancement of the modern society has brought changes that aim at changing the way this issue has been viewed over the past years. The policy makers have opted to treat the offences committed by the juveniles as potential criminal cases to be handled by the criminal justice system.
In the modern society Juvenile offences should be reconsidered and the offenders to be exposed a justice system that has a two court system, this is because the crimes that are committed by the juveniles are on the high rise. The high rate of these crimes is attributed to the lenience that is given to the offenders. Trying the juveniles in adult court systems with the same magnitude of capital punishment is the correct measure that should be taken (CliffsNotes, 5). However this step has stirred up many different views that have seen the international lobby groups strongly coming up with advocacy for children rights that opposes these measures.
The advancement in technology has exposed the modern child to violence in that is perpetuated by the musical songs, movies, and computer graphic games. Juveniles that have access to arms such as guns develop higher chances to convert into ardent criminals. This should be checked with a powerful criminal justice system and their actions should be accompanied with a tough punishment.
Over the past decades juvenile criminal activity consistently increased, this has made it necessary to prosecute the juveniles accused of more serious crimes as adults. Regardless of the age of the offender, a uniform punishment should be admitted for any major criminal offence (Reaves, 6). An offence such as an act of murder should be allocated a uniform degree of punishment such as death penalty or life imprisonment irrespective of the level of maturity of the offender.
The psychological view asserts that it is immoral to submit juveniles to adult punishments because it a less effective measure for curbing criminal activities amongst the developing minds. The psychological effects that are inflicted by this measure will most likely cause the offender to repeat the criminal activity. Physical or sexual molestation to the juvenile offenders within the first periods of admission into correctional centre by the adult culprits can lead to psychological impairments if carried over for the entire period of imprisonment.
The increasing belief that the juvenile offenders can be rehabilitated through measures that encourage juvenile delinquency has impacted negatively to the offenders who view the move as a lesser punishment in their favor. This implies that the juvenile offenders should therefore be punished at the same degree of punishment for the same offence as adults.
Taking the juvenile offenders to rehabilitation instead of adult courts serves as a good correctional measure. The trials in the adult courts are made with consultations to the public and in case of lack of evidence the offender gets away without punishment. In most cases the privacy of the juveniles is protected and therefore during hearing in the adult courts there is a high possibility that the minors can be found not guilty. This will encourage minors to repeat the same criminal activity.
The process of rehabilitation does not guarantee fixing of the growth of criminal minds amongst the minors if they are subjected into delinquency. There is no importance in deterring the minors from being repeat offenders by rehabilitating them through the prevention of mental relapse. The fact should remain clear that the criminal act should not be committed by the young generation since it can be recurrently be committed in the entire lifetime (Steinberg, 8). Therefore strict measures should be employed to prevent the repetition by other minors, therefore punishment even greater than adult punishment is preferable.
Excusing the offenders due to the reliance on the age and psychological explanations that proposes juvenile delinquency as a correctional measure for the minor offenders means that the consequences of their actions has been lessened therefore undermining and his/her family members who may be incurring heavy losses.
The rehabilitation centers do not provide the cure for the lack of morals. It should be made clear that human morals are inherent from birth. The way a person is socialized from the beginning determines his view his/her perception of acknowledging the right decision from wrong and his/her level of respect for the law of the state. The human morals are cross-worked varies from one situation to another. At one point a person may be morally upright due to the surrounding rules but totally alter morality at another point where there is freedom.
The following groups makes up my audience, the youths of all races in the world, parents, Experts in judicial matters, lobby groups advocating for children rights, Law enforcers and officers in charge of rehabilitations.
In my view, the juvenile offenders should not be tried as adults in the same criminal justice system because their behavior has a lot of attribution to the parental setup they grow in. Efforts should be made to include parents in checking the mental progress of their children through out the juvenile stage (Wilde, 2). The purpose of this essay is to critically analyze and address the issues of juvenile crimes and possible correctional measures.
Thesis statement: Juvenile offenders need to be exposed to a different criminal justice system as to that of adult offenders.
- The juveniles are not aware of there actions.
- Juveniles have a chance to reform since there behaviors are Malleable.
- The rehabilitated person that has gone through juvenile rehabilitation can serve as a role model to control the prevalence in juvenile crimes.
- The judicial justice system for the adults heavily depends on the information sourced from the public hence incase of evidence, an offender may be set free.
I strongly object to the act of subjecting the juvenile offenders to the adult criminal justice system. If this is done, the juvenile offenders will be hardened into adult criminals as a result of poor orientation that they are exposed to in the adult correctional systems.
In conclusion, there are several factors that are attributed as to why children are involved in juvenile criminal activities; most reliable source from the researchers carried out worldwide attributes this to the emotional imbalances that the child develops due to the parental set up. Other factors attributed to this include; child abuse, parental neglect, poverty, exposure to media violence, accessibility to illegal arms.
CliffsNotes. Should Juveniles Be Tried as Adults. 2010. http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/Should-Juveniles-Be-Tried-as-Adults.topicArticleId-10065,articleId-10063.html. Accessed November 11 2010
Reaves, Jessica. Should the Law Treat Kids and Adults Differently? May 17, 2001. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,110232,00.html. Accessed November 11 2010
Steinberg, Laurence. Should Juvenile Offenders Be Tried As Adults?: A Developmental Perspective on Changing Legal Policies. January 19, 2000. http://www.northwestern.edu/ipr/jcpr/workingpapers/wpfiles/Steinberg_briefing.pdf. Accessed November 11 2010
Wilde, Jessica. Juvenile Criminals Must Be Tried As Adults. March 5, 2009. http://unlvrebelyell.com/2009/03/05/juvenile-criminals-must-be-tried-as-adults/ Accessed November 11 2010