Preferential Treatments In Juvenile Justice System.

930 words - 4 pages

Chapter 15 in the textbook focuses mainly on juvenile justice. There are many subtopics under this chapter however, there was one topic in particular that attracted my interests. This topic was also touched on several times in the discussions board and it is the Preferential Treatments in Juvenile. These controversial treatments were specifically created and developed with a child’s best interests as a primary objective. The concept of this was introduce from the philosophy “parens patriae” which allowed the states to step in and take control of the problematic child. This philosophy was later developed and addressed by the Supreme Court around 1960’s and become today’s juvenile justice system. In this paper, I will discuss about the issues and the major key points related to the Preferential Treatments in juvenile justice system.
First, we need to understand some of the characteristics and the purposes of the preferential treatments. Preferential treatments were created in order to specifically help juvenile with the due processes of the justice system. According to the “Criminal Justice Today”, Schmalleger (2010) “The Illinois Juvenile Court Act created a juvenile court, separate in form and function from adult criminal courts. To avoid the lasting stigma of criminality, the law applied the term delinquent rather than criminal to young adjudicated offenders.” (p.552). Because juveniles are children who are younger than 18 year old, they are considered to be immature due to their ages and their level of judgment hence, it would be unfair to treat them with the same treatments as adults. Children are given special status under this preferential treatments that allows their cases to be handle differently than they would in adults system. This includes the less formal ways of handling the case, the possibility of the records to be destroyed in a later time, speed, evidentiary standard, disposition instead of sentence and philosophy of the court. The Primary objective of the justice system toward juveniles is not to award a punishment but to provide rehabilitation to the children instead.
While the preferential treatments were designed to help and better children however, there are issues that we need to be aware of. In “Kent versus U.S (1966)”, a 14 year old Morris Kent was arrested and placed on probation from burglaries and attempted purse snatching charges, he then was released on probation back to his mother’s custody. Two years later, Morris Kent entered a woman’s apartment, took her wallet and raped her. Morris Kent was sent to adult court system, he then was sentenced 5-15 years in prison in each count. Morris Kent however, was only 16 year old at the time. From this case, I couldn’t help but noticed that Morris Kent was one of the people who slipped through the cracks of the system. I feel that the authority should have noticed and...

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