Juveniles in the United States who are involved with the law are generally treated differently that adults. However, that can change based on the severity of the crime. Every state has their own separate court system for juveniles, and each juvenile court handles two different groups of juveniles; delinquent offenders and status offenders. A delinquent offender is one who has committed an “adult” crime, such as murder. Status offenders, on the other hand, are children who are considered to unruly or out of control.
Status offences aren’t crimes, but they are acts that are only considered illegal if a minor commits them. These acts include running away, skipping school, or drinking alcohol. Much of the US population believes that the parents or guardians should be held accountable for the crimes that their child commits. They believe that it is appropriate to assume that parents are, or should be, aware that their child is participating in the usage or selling of drugs, gangs, and in some states the parents could be charged with “contributing to the delinquency of a minor”.
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The juvenile justice system tries to rehabilitate the youth who have become involved in delinquency using different methods; community treatment, and institutionalizing. Community treatment is basically placing the child on arbitration when the child is not believed to be harmful to others. The child is under the supervision of an officer within the juvenile court, and must follow any and all of the rules that officer gives to them. Sometimes, community treatment takes the form of restitution, which is when the child reimburses the victim either through direct payment or performing services.
Institutionalizing is when the juvenile is placed either in a juvenile detention center or other correctional facility, if not a state penitentiary or adult jail; however, only 2 percent of juveniles are eventually placed in state institutions. The juvenile justice system is a web of hundreds of different people and agencies that are created to help over a quarter-million of America’s youth. TO understand this system, a knowledge Of the trends in juvenile crime rates and statistics required to understand the functions and roles of several components of the juvenile justice system.
Psychologists have recognized that crime generally begins at a young age. A typical male criminal begins his ‘career’ at 14 or 15, continues through his ass’s and then essentially ‘retires’. Men and women under the age of 18 make up 1/6 of the nations population, and they make up a quarter of all arrests nationwide. Around 35% of all boys and young men growing up in an urbanize area in the United States will be arrested before their 18th birthday. While juveniles account for only a small percentage of the national population, older juveniles (16, 17, 18 year olds) are proven to have the highest arrest rates of any other age group.
Research shows that only a small percentage of juveniles commit crimes, and those that do only commit one or two offenses. For many, the experience of being in a correctional facility, being arrested, or facing their parents is enough to keep them from being repeat offenders. Before juvenile courts were established, no child under the age of seven was held accountable for any criminal act, because they were considered to be unable to perform an act with the necessary criminal intent.
Generally children between 7 and 14 were thought to be unable to commit a criminal act, but proving that the individual knew that what they were doing would cause harm to another person could challenge that belief. Anyone over the age of 14 was charged and treated like an adult could challenge belief would be. Today, most people re considered juveniles until they are 18, although in some states that age can be 16 or 17. In most states, if a juvenile commits a serious crime, they can be transferred to a criminal court and tried as an adult. These crimes would include robbery and murder.
Determining whether or not a juvenile should be tried as an adult is dependent on; the age of the child, their criminal record, the type of crime committed, and if the individual can get help and rehabilitation through the juvenile court. Regardless of the youth being tried as an adult or a juvenile, the treatment of the individual will be different than hat of an adult. For example, a juvenile who is charged as an adult can be placed with other juveniles who have been charged as adults or other adults. An adult, on the other hand, will be tried as an adult, charged as an adult, and housed with other adults.
In recent years, we have seen an increase in serious crimes committed by juveniles. These acts have proven to be more violent, and are often related to drugs and gangs. Because of this, there have been congressional movements to reduce the age at which a juvenile can be tried as an adult. There are many, many factors that contribute to delinquent behavior. Biological and psychological factors hold a large part of this, but perhaps social factors play the largest part in understanding why juvenile delinquency continues to be a large and growing aspect of our society. Changes in the social structure may affect juvenile crime rates indirectly.
For example, negative changes in the economy can lead to a decrease in job opportunities for youth, as well as just an overall rise in unemployment. Also included would be a family history of criminal activity, as well juveniles have been exposed to sexual and physical abuser abandonment, neglect, or a lack of parental control. The idea of a ‘family unit’ is crucial to a child’s development. The majority of what a child learns is through their parents or guardians, and when a child has a criminal parent, they can, and most likely will, teach their child that what they are doing is okay, because it’s what their parent is doing.
Children should be taught to be held accountable for their actions and that there Will be consequences, good or bad, for whatever choices they make. In the last 25 years, the traditional family structure has changed, with now more two working parent and single parent households, which has consequently dead to less supervision of children at home, and this lack of parental supervision is thought to be a significant influence on juvenile crime rates.
Other notable causes of juvenile crimes would be failure in school, an increased availability to drugs and alcohol, and child abuse or neglect. All of these incidences tend to increase the probability of a minor committing a criminal act. Prevention works better and is cheaper than treatment. The reality of it is that improving how juveniles are treated when they are apprehended will reduce the chances of them to be arrested or apprehended again by only 10 percent. The fact of the matter is, prevention holds a much better chance of succeeding that rehabilitation.