Solutions to Juvenile Crime
Crime is a plague that has haunted American citizens for centuries. The severity of crime has ranged from running a red light to cold blooded murder. Statistics indicate that crime rates have been on the rise in the previous decades, especially juvenile crime. Statistics show that, ‘the number of youths aged 14 and younger who have been charged with homicide has jumped by 43 percent in the past twenty years’ (Kids With No Hope, No Fear, No Rules, And No Life, 2). This increase in juvenile crime has struck a chord of fear in many people . Motivated by this fear our society has to come up with a solution to this impending problem. While several suggestions have been offered, crime prevention is the most logical, effective and beneficial solution.
Before going into detail about crime prevention, here is a little background information on juvenile crime. ‘Murders by young men between the ages of 14 and 17 jumped 161 percent between 1992 and 1993’ (Juvenile Crime, 1). Aggravated assault arrests have grown 95 percent since 1985. Robbery arrests have grown 57 percent (Juvenile Violence, Drugs, and Weapons, 1). The number of juveniles arrested in 1994 was 94 percent greater than the total number arrested in 1981 (2).
There are several reasons why juvenile crime has been on the rise. The most prominent ones are lack of education, the increased use and availability of firearms and the increase in use and availability of drugs.
The most recent solution proposed to decrease juvenile crime is known in Arizona as Proposition 102. The proposition reads as follows:
Amending Arizona Constitution to mandate adult prosecution at age fifteen for murder, forcible sexual assault or armed robbery; allow alternatives for other juveniles; repeal court's sole discretion to suspend prosecution of juveniles accused of crime; repeal court jurisdiction over juveniles; make juvenile offenders' records and proceedings public, with exceptions (State of Arizona Ballot Measures, 1).
In summary, the proposition says that every juvenile between the ages of fifteen to seventeen who committs armed robbery, rape or murder will be tried and sentenced as an adult. This is not the best solution to decreasing juvenile crime because it creates problems within itself. More specifically, the proposition is trying to amend something that is already in existence, the proposition lends itself to a loophole for attorneys, jails are overcrowded as it is, the proposition is deceiving and the framers of the proposition have failed to recognize that there are other possible solutions, such as crime prevention.
Before the election, under the current law the courts already had the power to transfer a juvenile case to an adult court (1996 Ballot Propositions. Your Future... Your Choice. Vote!, 20). The judges presiding over the hearings made the discretion based...