JuvenileCourts And The Future
JuvenileCourts And The Future
Overtime, there has been an increase in the number of underage youngadults and children who have been involved in criminal offenses. Thishas in turn led to the implementation of the juvenile system in orderto take care of the underage offenders (under the age of majority).However, different aspects have led to the debate as to which shouldbe the ultimate age that the underage should be tried just like anadult. The American legal system has different standards for childrenthan the adults. Children are treated leniently as compared toadults. As a result, most offenders argue that they should be triedand sentenced as children, despite the gravity of their actions(Siegel, Schmalleger & Worrall, 2015).Therefore, there is a debate as to who should enjoy the toleranceoffered by the law to the children. Various views exist as to whatage an offender should be tried as an adult for different reasons.This essay examines the appropriate age to treat a juvenile as anadult in terms of legal responsibility for his/her actions. It placesemphasis on the factors to be considered when determining this age.
Thejuvenile system takes adulthood to be 18 years. Therefore, it is atthis age that offenders should be tried and sentenced as adults(Siegel,Schmalleger & Worrall, 2015).However, there is an increase in the number of crimes committed byjuveniles, and hence the number of juveniles being tried in adultcourts has also increased. The age of a juvenile to be tried as anadult has been lowered to 14 years (Lial,Greenwell & Ritchey, 2012).Below the age of 14, children do not understand the consequences oftheir actions. The assumption of doli incapax considers childrenbelow 14 years incapable of forming a guilty mind. Hence, suchchildren cannot commit a crime intentionally. As a result, a childbelow 14 years should not be held legally accountable for his/heractions, unless, there is concrete proof that the child knew whatthey were doing (Siegel,Schmalleger & Worrall, 2015).The leniency offered to under 14s can help rehabilitate the youngones. Such rehabilitation is preferable to having juveniles who havespent half their life in prison due to being sentenced as adults.Besides, children under the age of 14 are mostly under the care ofadults, and in turn the adult, plays a part in the offence committedby such children (Lial,Greenwell & Ritchey, 2012).
Alternatively,the justice system is committed to holding perpetrators of crimeresponsible. It aims at reducing the effects of crime which are thesame despite the age of the offender. Trying and punishing juvenilesfrom 14 and above as adults is an incentive to deter crime andpromote the safety of the public. Children above 14 years think twicebefore they can commit a crime. The knowledge that they can receiveadult sentence deters them from committing such crimes. Consequently,the rates of juvenile crimes reduce (Siegel,Schmalleger & Worrall, 2015).
Studyingthe Juvenile Courts and the Future course will promote myprofessional success in the following ways. First, the course helpsme understand the juvenile system and how it operates, which isessential in criminology. Knowledge of procedures followed whiletransferring a juvenile offender to the adult court ensures propertreatment of offenders as well as guarantee justice for the victims.It also promotes understanding of legal proceedings and penalties forjuveniles either held as children or adults.
Inconclusion, factors such as the seriousness of a crime, age andknowledge of the offender go a long way in determining whetherjuvenile delinquents should be and sentenced as adults. However, alloffenders above 18 years should be tried and penalized as adults.Some adolescent offenders under 18 are tried and punished as adults.All in all, the important determinant on whether to try juvenileoffenders as adults is the capability of the offenders to commit acrime intentionally and the understanding of the consequences.
Lial,M. L., Greenwell, R. N., & Ritchey, N. P. (2012). Finitemathematics (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education., NJ: Pearson.
Siegel,L. J., Schmalleger, F., & Worrall, J. L. (2015). Courts andCriminal Justice in America (2nd Ed.). Upper Saddle River.