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Criminal Justice Essay

1130 words - 5 pages

The juvenile court was created in the early 20th century when it was recognized that children and adults are different, and the rehabilitation process for them should be different as well. Until the late 19th century children and adults where tried alike in criminal courts. When a juvenile offender commits a crime it is the responsibility of the state to rehabilitate the juvenile offenders, as well as protect them. Youth crime rates have actually declined over the past twenty years, despite the public’s perception that it has increased. This has led to an overwhelming support that the juvenile court system be restructured to include tougher crime punishment, such as being able to try ...view middle of the document...

These days it seems as though there is finally a greater emphasis on punishment, to help defend against repeat offenders.

Delinquency is an offence or misdeed, usually of the minor nature, that is committed by a young person. ("The Free Dictionary", 2011). This is where the term juvenile delinquency comes from. Juvenile delinquency is illegal behavior by minors usually under the age of eighteen, or who fall under the statutory age limit which varies from state to state. The juvenile court system usually uses juvenile detention centers as rehabilitation centers for youthful offenders. There is also probation as an option for the less serious crimes. Mental behavior also sometimes plays a part in juvenile delinquency. Bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder are sometimes linked to these behaviors, but they can also become a result of their behaviors. Other individual risk factors include: intelligence, impulsiveness, personality, self-control, and family life. Following along with delinquency are status offenses. Status offense is an action that is prohibited only to a certain class of people, and most often applies to offenses only committed by minors. Status offense also refers to an offense where motive is not a consideration in determining guilt, such as a traffic violation. (Wikipedia, 2011). Examples of these offenses include running away from home, tobacco usage, consuming alcohol or illegal drugs, and truancy. Most states restrict the term “status offense” for minors only.

There are many variables that correlate with the juvenile crime rates. These variables or risk factors that tend to increase delinquent behavior include: residence in high crime neighborhoods, negative peer influences, and failure in school, child abuse, neglect, drug use, and ineffective parental discipline. These variables directly affect the juvenile crime rate because the more of these behaviors we see the more likely we are to see an increase in juvenile offenses. For example in these trying times the economy is poor and may lead to people losing their homes. It may be out of the parents’ hands and could ultimately lead to inadequate housing for their families. It could also force the parents to relocate their families to high crime neighborhoods. Children in these situations have a higher tendency to commit crime than those of the upper class. Drug use is a prime example also because many studies over the years have tied drug use to...

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