Juvenile Crime Paper Essay
Juvenile Court is a tribunal having special authority to try and pass judgments for crimes committed by children or adolescents who have not attained the age of maturity, generally defined as persons under the age of 18 and above the age of 10. Adult Court is a court of law where adults can be tried, and if convicted, face adult punishment such as probation, adult prison, or even the death penalty. Juvenile cases are handled differently than adult criminal cases. Instead of a criminal district or county court, juvenile cases are heard by a juvenile court judge.
A juvenile who is alleged to have committed an offense may have their case heard in juvenile court. This is a type of civil court and has different rules than adult court. Juvenile court provides defendants with fewer rights than they would receive in an adult court. In many states, juveniles do not have the right to a jury trial, but do have the right to counsel and also an appeal. The proceedings are civil as opposed to criminal. So, instead of being formally charged with a crime, juvenile offenders are accused of committing a delinquent act.
Even though juvenile court is more civil in nature, a juvenile court judge does have some criminal type “authority”. A juvenile case gets started when a prosecutor or probation officer files a civil petition, charging the juvenile with violating a criminal statute and asking that the court determine that the juvenile is delinquent. If the charges are proven a delinquency, a determination is made, and the juvenile comes under the courts broad power. At that point, the juvenile court has the authority to do what it considers to be in the best interest of the juvenile.
The goal of most juvenile court programs is to rehabilitate a child before they become an adult and get into more trouble. Most states will treat juvenile matters as civil matters or family law matters, rather than criminal matters under the state’s penal code for adults. However, crimes committed by juveniles that are serious in nature, such as murder and gang-related acts, in 44 states in the United States are treated the same as those crimes are treated if committed by an adult. For these serious crimes, juveniles can be tried and convicted as adults and face the same type of punishment, except for the death penalty.
Increases in juvenile crime has permitted judges to transfer juveniles to the adult criminal courts. “Delinquency” means wrongdoing. The term delinquency usually refers to juvenile delinquency. Juvenile delinquency is when a youth (under the age of 18) becomes involved in criminal activity, such as shoplifting, vandalism, selling drugs, etc. Delinquency is costly to families, communities, states, and nations. For this reason most governments have a vested interest in delinquency prevention, and they provide a great deal of funding to address the root cause of delinquency.
Most delinquency efforts are funded by local, state, and federal governments. However, an increasing number of religious, civic, and other non-profit organizations are contributing to the delinquency prevention efforts. (wiki. com). Status offenses are a special category of illegal behaviors that apply only to juveniles and would not be considered illegal if done by an adult. The most common of these are: 1) School Truancy, 2) Curfew Violations, and 3) Running Away from Home.
The Juvenile Court policy regarding status offenders is based on the philosophy that they are most effectively handled on a diversionary basis by a counseling agency other than the Court with all efforts directed at keeping the family intact. Juvenile Court’s jurisdiction over status offenses will be exercised as a last resort after finding that all voluntary resources have been exhausted. (co. livingston. mi. us) Some variables that correlate with juvenile crime rates could be; peer pressure, the lack of parental guidance, poverty, boredom, and ignorance.
Some other reasons could include the child being abused at home, or not having both parents in the home, alcohol and drug use, gang involvement, depression, being bullied at school, or becoming a school dropout. Roughly half of all juvenile arrests are made for theft, simple assault, drug abuse, disorderly conduct, and curfew violations, according to the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Some other crimes that are committed by juveniles are auto theft, DUI, trespassing, underage alcohol consumption, and property damage.
In an average year, only about 3% of cases heard in juvenile court involved violent offenses like robbery, rape, murder, and aggravated assault. Historically, the vast majority of juvenile court cases have involved male offenders. Usually between the ages of 14 and 17. But the number of girls entering the juvenile justice system has been on the rise in recent years, in an average year, girls accounted for 27% of all juveniles facing proceedings in the juvenile courts in the United States. Over the last 10 years, there has been a marked increase in the number of crimes committed by juveniles.
The largest increase has been in the number of violent offenses committed. Motor vehicle theft and property crimes, burglary, and larceny have also increased substantially. Juveniles are not only committing more crimes, they are more frequently becoming the victim of a crime, and more and more juveniles are being victimized by assailants armed with firearms. A criminal record will negatively impact the life of a child in many ways such as employment, social relationships, college applications, and college loans.
An experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney will work to lessen the consequences that can limit a juvenile’s future choices. There are programs that can possibly help with the deterrence of juvenile crime. The first and foremost, in my opinion, is up to the parents or guardians of the child. Having a stable home environment is the beginning to stop a child from being a future criminal. Parents need to build a strong family structure to possibly keep their child from taking the wrong path in life.
Also there are after school programs in most schools that youths can enroll in, staying away from bad influences, such as problem children, and drugs and alcohol. There are many ways that parents, youths, and society as a whole can lessen the number of crimes that are committed by juveniles. Figuring out how to reduce juvenile crime rates will save money, the court officials time, families, and most importantly, possibly save a child from a life of crime and help them to become productive members of society.