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Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Crime Article
Youth crime has become one of the main policy matters in the United States with its growth over the last two decades. The juvenile courts are the special trials that deal with offences committed by young persons under the age of eighteen. They differ from the adult courts in the procedure and the terminology as well as in the court purpose, the constitutional rights and the sentencing options.
For instance, the adults are treated as guilty, while the minors are deemed to be involved or delinquent. The grown-ups are called the defendants, while the young people are supposed to be the respondents. In a juvenile case, there is one judge instead of jury, like it is in the adult court. The individual has more constitutional rights in the adult court than in the young offender’s tribunal. The bail is also not permitted for the teenagers. A juvenile offender should prove that he/she does not constitute a menace to society in order to be released from custody. The courtroom is usually closed for the community, in the cause of minor (Siegel, 2011).
The term “disposition orders” is used for the sentencing options in the young offender's court. The minor can be sentenced to the house arrest, the consultations or the term of punishment in a detention facility. Punishment and justice are the purposes of the adult court, while the juvenile judicatory is aimed in helping and rehabilitation for children.
The sociologists underline the following variables of juvenile offending: the peer groups, self-esteem, race and gender, the social and family background. Juvenile delinquency can be the result of the social environment. Children spend most of their time watching aggressive movies and violent shows, which they try to imitate. The social change, including poverty and unemployment, can easily turn the teenagers to the criminal activity. Living in the area with the high crime level is also the common cause of the delinquent behavior. These social conditions contribute to juvenile delinquency in some cases. Nevertheless, drug abuse is considered to be the primary source of youth crime (Elrod & Ryder, 2011).
According to the Office for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, there are over 100,000 juvenile offenders incarcerated within the country. They account for approximately 15% of all violent crime offenders, which were arrested. The overall rate of youth crime tends to decrease. Compared to 2006, it went down by 5% in 2010. At the same time, the number of juvenile delinquents involved in the murders has considerably increased since the 1980s. The juvenile crime rate varies between boys and girls as well as among different ethnic groups and races (Siegel, 2011).
In some serious crimes, the teenagers can be judged in the adult court. The transfer to the adult court can mean the harsh punishment for the juvenile, including the capital punishment. The minors have also severe time in the adult prison. They may become the victims of assault and even rape. Though, the information about sexual abuse in prisons is scarce; there were different negative consequences, comprising suicide. Moreover, the accommodation of juvenile offenders in the adult jails heightens their criminal traits after release (Layzell, 2005).
Regardless of the worldwide agreement that the adults and the children cannot bear the same criminal liability, the United States permits the teenagers to be tried and punished as the grown-ups. These sanctions develop the negative attitude of the teenagers towards the justice system instead of delinquency reduction (Elrod & Ryder, 2011).
Thus, the U.S. juvenile justice system is among the issues of concern today. Undoubtedly, the judiciary must change its current manner of cases relating to the juvenile delinquents. The criminal justice has to be aware of societal changes and anticipate how they might influence the juveniles and their behavior. The juvenile offenders must be instructed on the importance of maintaining the law and the order in the rehabilitation centers, as the alternative of just being placed in the prison. Therefore, the adults and the adolescents should not be treated the same way.
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