Institution of Affiliation
The criminal justice system was established to ensure that people obeyed the law and therefore minimize the incidences of criminality as well as punishing the law offenders (Cole, Smith & DeJong, 2018). The law offender can be an adult or a juvenile and therefore there arises the need for a separate criminal justice system for both of the parties. The presence of the juvenile offenders necessitated the need for the development of the juvenile court system as the minors could not be subjected to the same punishment and treatment like the adults. Regarding the punishment for the children, there are controversies regarding their judicial system and the issue of whether or not that the system should focus on the punitive or the rehabilitative aspect on the minors.
According to my opinion, the juvenile justice system should focus on the punishment rather than rehabilitation (Guarino-Ghezzi, 2017). In the cases where minors tend to act in such a manner that is horrible and make conscious decisions similar to that of an adult, it is therefore clear that the minor should be subjected to the same trial as well as treatment identical to that of an adult. Individuals become too much lenient to a juvenile or even placing lighter sentences or punishment to them since they are young concerning age and therefore have a terrible feeling on them and end up having mercy to the minors. If the punishment given to the minor is not harsh enough, the juvenile may not learn from their mistakes and may feel as if they have been pulled out of the first crime and therefore they may land on a high chance of repeating the crime or even committing a bigger one next time. However regarding punishment, I don’t think that the severe punishment should apply to every situation, but to under particular circumstances the minors should be treated as adults.
The juvenile system tends to be very distinct from the adult criminal justice system, and both share common goals and functions. They both function to rehabilitate the offender incapacitating the criminal and thereby deterring the person from committing future offenses. Besides, they both serve the exaction of retribution expiation for the offenses. For the juvenile cases, there are specific factors to which the judge should consider before trying a juvenile in an adult court that include the seriousness of the offense, previous record of criminality in the minor, the maturity level of the juvenile as well as the likelihood that the youth would be rehabilitated under the juvenile system. Currently, most of the state laws allow for the increase in the transfers of juvenile defendants from the juvenile court to the adult courts due to the increased crimes to which severe outcome.
There are significant shortfalls in the juvenile justice system although I do have the feeling that it should not be abolished. The need to implement the change of more focus on the aspect of punishment will ultimately yield the effective results of getting the juvenile well rehabilitated (Shoemaker, 2017). The harsher the punishments or the sentences imposed to the youths for the severe crimes or the repeat offenders, the more effective the justice system will be having the eventual results of reduced incidences of minor criminal activities. The issue of imposing an adult sentence to the minors will prove to them that their crime is not a mere joke and therefore will be less likely to repeat the offense again or even commit another one in fear of a harsher punishment.
The best alternative for an effective juvenile justice system would be a blended option with an addition of the transfer of the jurisdiction of the cases to an adult court (Cole, Smith & DeJong, 2018). The blended option would include punishment, rehabilitation as well as deterrence. Although the prospect may seem to be costly as it slows down due to the case by case analysis, it might prove to be much effective in turning all the stones that were responsible for committing the crime and according to the offender the right punishment to which they deserve in accordance to their offense. The transfer of jurisdiction does not only impose a harsher and more severe sentence, but also it sends a message to the individuals that serious wrongdoing has been committed. It also makes the public aware as it is not similar to the juvenile proceedings to which are confidential and so at the end of the process, the offender can feel humiliated entirely to which is part of the punishment. Imposing harsher penalties and sentences will aid in the removal of the violent offenders off the streets and thereby making it safer for all the community, and this will imply that even the juvenile offenders must be held accountable for their criminal behaviors (Kappeler & Potter, 2017). The changes to which include changing the sentence options, comparing the weight of the crime to determine whether the minor should be tried in an adult court as well as opening the juvenile proceedings and records to the public, are more aggressive policies in making sure that justice can be delivered within the juvenile criminal justice system.
According to polls, a majority of the American population is not happy with the juvenile justice system the way it is structured, as most of them believe that the rehabilitation programs for the minors are not successful (Shoemaker, 2017). Others have the belief that the punishments provided to the juveniles should be the same as those given to the adults who have committed a similar magnitude of crime to the minors. Besides, a large number is of the opinion that those who commit multiple crimes receive the same sentencing to that of the adults. Others are of the opinion that death penalty is provided for the juveniles who commit murder. The aspect of the death penalty, however, may be subjected to some scrutiny as a majority of them may be innocent but proved guilty due to lack of evidence, and therefore a life sentence would be much fair for the minor.
The law enforcers who happen to be the police have the responsibility to warn, cite and arrest the offenders. The police have a fair amount of discretion in the determination of response in the event of a minor’s involvement in a crime. If the primary focus turned to punishment, the law enforcers should be adequately informed as well as being updated on a regular basis concerning the changes in both law and policies as they play an active role in reducing and preventing crime (Reid, 2015). Besides, the court processes should be made fast through the hiring of more personals so that justice is passed at the right time to both the offender and the complainant in the quest to improve fairness. The department probation plays a significant role in determining whether the minor should face trial like an adult by making recommendations and therefore if the aspect of punishment was to be followed, more probation officers would be employed to book more minors to trial same to adults with stricter rules.
The correction facilities would also be expanded to accommodate more juvenile delinquents, and therefore the issue of overcrowding as well as the resultant issues of congestion such as disease transmission would be reduced (Kratcoski, 2017). The point of punishment incorporates both the punishment and rehabilitation to the offender, and therefore the justice system should shift their focus to punishing the juveniles such that they may not be able to repeat the criminal acts. In the issue of punishment, severe punishments may not be advocated for such that the offender might get adversely affected but rather more considerate punishments should be offered that must seem to be harsh but at the same time fair. As it is well known that an ideal situation does not even exists, providing the grounds for a fair trial should be among the considered issues in the juvenile justice system in the provision of justice.
Cole, G. F., Smith, C. E., & DeJong, C. (2018). The American system of criminal justice. Cengage Learning.
Guarino-Ghezzi, S. (2017). Balancing juvenile justice. Routledge.
Kappeler, V. E., & Potter, G. W. (2017). The mythology of crime and criminal justice. Waveland Press.
Kratcoski, P. C. (2017). The Scope and Purposes of Correctional Treatment. In Correctional counseling and treatment (pp. 3-16). Springer, Cham.
Reid, S. T. (2015). Crime and criminology. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.
Shoemaker, D. J. (2017). Juvenile delinquency. Rowman & Littlefield.