Juveniles And The Justice System Essay

1850 words - 7 pages

The United States sentences more juveniles to death than any other nation in the world (Justice, 2009) and our juveniles are being sentenced as young as ten years of age. These are juveniles being tried as adults, and something has to change and change fast. The younger generation is supposed to be our future leaders. How will our juveniles or the citizens of this country prevail if this continues we won’t be able to because most of our future leaders will be prisoner. (B, 2005)

The U.S made legal history in 1989 when the world’s first juvenile court opened in Chicago (Rank, J.) Since 1990 many states have also adopted the “get tough” approach to juvenile justice as a response to the increasingly violent crimes committed by children. Juvenile crime escalated to an all time high, and then started to decrease in 1995 when images on television, such as the Springfield, Oregon, rampage of 15-year-old Kip Kinkel who shot both of his parents and then two of his classmates. The impression of citizens in the United States was that juvenile crime is out of control. (Levinson) Now Juveniles are being prosecuted a lot more than adults in adult courts.

Out of our fifty states “twelve currently set sixteen years of age as their minimum age to prosecute juveniles, four states set the age at 17 and fifteen states (including the federal government) requires that the offender be eighteen in order to receive the death penalty”. (Monroe, 2009)States that do no specify a minimum age for prosecution of a juvenile can sentence to death anyone sixteen years of age and older. The main idea is to see if it’s really justice to prosecute a juvenile as an adult knowing that their mental capacity is not of an adult. (Levinson) Since 2003 many states have adopted legislation that permits more children to be tried as adults. All of the states have a provision allowing prosecutors to try juveniles as adults. (Rank, J.)

According to the FBI Arrest Statistics from 1994 to 2000 the crimes committed by juveniles between the ages of 10 to 17 was reported as 80% to 65%, which was high and then slowly decrease, whereas in 2001 to 2007 the crimes committed by juveniles between the ages of 10 to 17 has increased from 68% to 75% and the crimes that are being committed range from violent crimes of rape and murder to non-violent crimes such as forgery and counterfeiting. The FBI provides their annual data files containing agency-based arrest counts to the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) within the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan with funds from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, NACJD aggregates agency-level counts to the county level, and then applies an estimation procedure to compensate for the under reporting and no reporting agencies within the county. (Puzzanchera, 2009)

A poll was done concerning” Rehabilitation verses Incarceration of Juvenile Offenders”. The poll consisted of asking...

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