All papers are checked via
|← The Juvenile Justice System||Sexual Coercion and Victimization-Brochure Format →|
It is important before embarking on this discussion to ask ourselves a few questions in order to get a clear picture on what we are getting into. When a child kills, rapes or steals, does this action transforms him or her into an adult? Does the child continue to maintain a number of childhood trappings within the system irrespective of the gravity associated with the crime committed? It sounds hilarious when one asserts children to be small adults. However, as much as this seems funny, the gravity it carries comes to light when it is a crime. This issue is of concern and has raised eyebrows concerning the nature of human development and justice (Bergman, Bergman and Berman-Barret, 2009). One core challenge posed is to whether children should be treated as adults in criminal law courts.
Arguments against Juveniles Receiving the Same Treatment as Adults
It is vital to ponder as to whether juveniles are in a position of understanding the magnitude of the crimes committed before making any haste decision. Normally children are regarded as angels, beings that can not harm a thing. No child should be labeled a criminal. However, when they commit unimaginable crimes and find themselves in questionable conditions, a dilemma is presented to the public. According to Bergman, Bergman and Berman-Barret (2009), the only way through which this dilemma can be resolved is to either redefine the offence committed by the child as something of less magnitude or consider the perpetrator an adult.
For a very long time, the American society has chosen to treat crimes committed by children as of less gravity than when committed by adults. The society has given a new definition to crimes committed by juveniles (delinquent crimes) thus treating the offenders under a system that specifically caters for their immature state. This is a system which emphasizes on rehabilitation rather than punishment.
There are two prevailing beliefs explaining why juveniles should be given different treatments from adults. Firstly, juveniles are equipped with different competencies than the ones possessed by adults. They may have committed the crimes due to peer pressure or without their own consent and thus should not bear all the consequences. This clearly gives a concrete reason why juveniles should be adjudicated differently from adults.
Secondly, the potentials children have in relation to change are different from those of adults. Through rehabilitation, juveniles stand a better chance of regretting their actions and transforming into new beings. This is different from the chances an adult stands when presented with the same facilities.
Arguments for Juveniles Receiving the Same Treatment as Adults
As much as we argue against juveniles receiving the same treatment as adults, a number of factors have emerged to show why juveniles do not deserve different treatment. For instance, the juvenile system has failed to curb violence among the juveniles. In addition, some people consider the juvenile system as reliant on false foundations. The system is established as a way of shielding juveniles from bearing responsibility of their actions.
A study carried out by Layzell (2005) shows a rapid drop in juvenile crimes over the last five years. The author considers this drop as a result of fear. Children are afraid of receiving the same treatment as adults in case they break the law. In a way, this assumption seems to be working for the best.
Another school of thought asserts that juvenile crimes occurring everyday will be eradicated if present juveniles are punished. This punishment will deter future juvenile generation and therefore prevent them from becoming the next predators. Similarly, Layzell, (2005) considers an abolition of juvenile law court system as a way to make sure the juveniles are afforded a full array of their rights constitutionally.
There is one fact that remains distinct irrespective of the stand taken. Juveniles whether treated as children or as adults do not real matter much. However, it is important to remember that the child needs special guidance and counseling. As noted by Bergman, Bergman and Berman-Barret (2009), it would be unfair basing an argument in reference to the simple conduct of the juvenile. This act should not by any chance invoke the tough adult criminal system on children. Juveniles should be handled in relation to their age and not in reference to the crimes committed. The juvenile courts and the general systems in operation were created with the intention of guiding the juveniles. The systems were not enacted to punish them.