Free Status Offenders Vs Juvenile Delinquents Essay Sample
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Anybody living in this world is capable to commit a crime. Crimes committed by juvenile and those committed by adults are treated differently. Juvenile crime is categorized into two categories, i.e. status offenders and juvenile delinquents. A status offense is defined as an illegal conduct of a minor that is not criminal, if committed by an adult (Murray, & Rubin, 1983). Juvenile delinquents, on the other hand, refer to the participation of youths below the age of eighteen years in crime (Siegel, & Welsh, 2011). Despite the two being treated differently, there is a limited empirical evidence to support either similarities or differences.
Both juvenile crimes have some specific similarities. They are committed by persons under the legal age of eighteen years. A status offender and a juvenile delinquent are both minors and cannot be subjected to adult justice system (Rose, 1999). Another similarity is that in terms of punishment they cannot be treated the same as adult offenders. Their sentence is different and they cannot be subjected to the same conditions as adult criminals.
Is there any difference between status offenders and juvenile delinquents?
Status offenders and juvenile delinquents are different in their nature. A status offense is a behavior, which when found in adults is not considered as a crime, but in children it is a form of crime. Such behaviors include running away, alcohol consumption, etc. Juvenile delinquent, on the contrary, is a behavior conducted by minors that constitute a crime as far as justice system is concerned. Such behaviors are forms of crime whether conducted by adults or children. Another difference is that status offenders might copy some adult behaviors with little or no knowledge that they are illegal. This makes them criminals without their knowledge (Rosen, Savitz, & Lalli, 1987). For instance, a child may notice that most people in the localities are drunkards and walk freely. Therefore, the child may start consuming alcohol drinking is right to do so since everybody else is doing it. Juvenile delinquent, on the contrary, involves developed criminal minds and children associated with crimes have full knowledge of what they are doing as well as the consequences thereof (Gordon, 1987).
Categorization of these juvenile crimes is logical since status offenders cannot be treated equally as juvenile delinquents. Their orientation to crime is different and the root cause of their behavior is not the same as well. From this insight, it is logical to conclude that categorization is important because it prevents generalization of distinct activities/behaviors in matters of treatment as well as handling.
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