Juvenile Crime Paper
The amount of crime that is committed by juveniles in our country is astonishing. This crime is on the rise in many cities across our nation because we see news reports often concerning juveniles. The reasons behind this crime may be sociocultural or even biological. As a nation, we need to enforce ways to keep our youth from turning to a life filled with crime and ultimately, a life inside the correctional system. There are programs, but the final decisions lies within the juvenile himself. Our nation has several court systems.
In the juvenile court system, one will find that there are some similarities with the adult court system. There are differences between the juvenile and the adult court systems also. One specific difference between these two courts is one’s constitutional rights. In a court which judges adults, these adults have the constitutional right to have his or her case heard and tried by a judge or a jury of his or her peers. In juvenile court, the judge makes all of the decisions. The judge decides whether or not the juvenile has broken the law and whether or not the juvenile is guilty.
Another difference concerns sentencing. When a judge in juvenile court is sentencing a juvenile, he takes into consideration that juvenile’s history and behavior. The judge may ask the parent, teacher or employer to speak concerning the juvenile’s behavior before sentencing. The main goal of the juvenile court is not to incarcerate the juvenile, but to deter him from crime and to rehabilitate him rather than punish him. Sometimes when an adult commits his first crime or a petty crime, he is “let off the hook” or given probation or even a short jail sentence.
In the juvenile system, they are usually ordered or sentences to attend a juvenile facility, counseling, house arrest with electronic devices or boot camp. Juveniles are not offered bail as adult offenders are offered. Juveniles are sometimes turned over to their parents. In the adult system, bail can be requested. Even if the bail is denied, the adult offender is allowed to ask for bail. Juveniles do not have this advantage. These teenagers or juveniles who often times get into trouble are labeled as juvenile delinquents.
A juvenile delinquent is a minor that fails to do what the law of duty requires (Schmalleger, 2011). This person is under the age of eighteen and has been found guilty by law of committing a crime. This is regarded by state law that the minor is lacing responsibility and because of this, he cannot be sentenced as an adult, but only as a juvenile. Crimes such as breaking curfew, offenses at school, drinking and graffiti are crimes that juveniles are normally charged with. These crimes are sometimes more of an annoyance than they are crimes.
Juveniles are prohibited from smoking, drinking and carrying firearms. A status offence is a type of crime that is not based on prohibited actions but it rests with the fact that the offender has a certain personal conditioner of a specified character. Status offences are offences which are committed by juveniles and because of their age they are not considered to be an adult and therefore cannot be tried as an adult (Schmalleger, 2011). Status offences protect juveniles from harm because they are essentially too young. They are children in the sight of the law.
Delinquency can relate to status of offences because of the things that these delinquents go through and how they can be different from the things that adults go through. Juveniles and children deal with anger, peer pressure, depression, childhood trauma, dysfunctional families, need for high academics and pressure regarding academics, idolizing rappers, actors and even criminals and bullying.. All of these things can cause delinquency to relate to status of offences. Research shows that there is not just one single cause for delinquency.
While the things that I mentioned above may very well lead to delinquency, one doesn’t out rank the other and not one is the specific cause for delinquency. Many children in my town idolize this local rapper. For a very long time, he was suspected of hiring people to kill other local rappers. Even though this happened, he would give away turkeys during Thanksgiving, give away school supplies or even bicycles. Maybe he was thinking he was paying a penance and that his good deeds would balance out with the bad things that he was doing.
Children all over this town were passionate about this young man. He was found guilty and sentenced to prison. However, the children want to be like him. I volunteered at an inner-city school and this man is the main topic of all the kids’ conversations! They absolutely idolized him. Therefore, they even formed gangs in his honor and began fighting and killing each other. I asked a student his reasons, and he told me the lyrics to the song are how they live. There are also positive variables that bring the rate of juvenile crime down.
There are programs that are based in schools as well as outside of schools that help juveniles deal with emotional distress. Some of these programs just provide a release for these youth. They are taught how to control their emotions and behavior. They are even taught how to interact with each other in some programs. One key point of many programs is to teach juveniles conflict resolution. When they are faced with conflicts, they need to be able to make smart decisions. These are skills they are needed and are provided to them.
They have to be taught how to make the right decisions when they are put in bad situations and this is the aim of such programs. At this time in our country, we are experiencing a difficult time with bullying. There are many anti-bullying campaigns which are in place in cities all across our nation. Bullying can have a horrible adverse effect on a juvenile. It can cause him to retaliate at worst, or even to act out in a harmful manner. These programs could possible reduce bullying by making juveniles aware of the harm that bullying can cause not only to the person who is being bullied, but to his family and friends as well.
This will hopefully reduce the negative, aggressive behavior of bullies. Saying “No” to peer pressure can be another way to deter juveniles from crime. When they feel that they do not have to please their friends or to fit in, they can make better choices. I believe that the main support that juveniles need is the support of their family. When a child is raised in a functional home with rules, he has a better chance of not entering the juvenile court system or even the adult corrections system.
These children not only look to their parents, they look to their older siblings, leaders in their communities, pastors, teachers and even their politicians. When we as adults break laws and are punished, even though we are punished, it still sends the wrong message to our children.