Life is precious and we live it only once, however, what we do with it is to our own decision. It is a shame that many people at young ages decide to live a life of misdeeds and become what we call juvenile criminals, but, every action has a consequence and to deal with these unlawful adolescent we have the Juvenile Justice Department. The juvenile justice system is a network of agencies that deal with juveniles whose conduct has come in conflict with the law. These agencies include police, prosecutor, detention, court, probation, and the Department of Juvenile Corrections. When young offenders commit a series of crimes, constantly being in trouble with the law, they are placed in Adult court where they are subject to punishment fitting a much older offender. In some cases they are placed into the adult system automatically such as in homicide cases.
Being tried as adults exposes these juveniles to state penitentiaries and sentences up to life in prison without parole and even execution. Is this really effective? Do these juveniles have the capacity to truly understand the crimes they are committing? Is there an age limit for introducing these juveniles into the adult justice system? These questions leave society wondering if this habit really is effective or is there a better way of handling young criminals. We have seen today in society how crime rates have been skyrocketing and how statistics prove that the majority of the crimes are being committed by minors. I believe that when you look into the background of these young delinquents most of them come disproportionately from impoverished single parents homes located in disinvested neighborhoods and have high rates of learning disabilities, mental health, and substance abuse problems and with help of the juvenile justice system they can make a huge turn into a successful transition in to adulthood. Their ages range from twenty and under, most are younger than fifteen years. In Ken Stier’s article, “Getting the Juvenile-Justice System to Grow Up,” in Time Magazine, he affirms the fact that every year, some 200,000 youths are tried, sentenced or incarcerated as adults. He also discusses how many advocates and academics argue that juveniles are not being given enough of a chance to turn their lives around after committing minor offenses. In agreement with Stier, I consider that juveniles have greater possibility than adults to make a change in their lives with the right help, counseling and rehabilitation. Stier also states, there is new brain research showing that the full development of the frontal lobe, where rational judgments are made, does not occur until the early to mid 20s.
A deeper look into the psychological aspect of the difference between and adult criminal mind and a minor’s is established in Norman Poythress, Frances J. Lexcen, Thomas Grisso, and Laurence Steinberg article: “The Competence-Related Abilities of Adolescent Defendants in Criminal Court”. Poythress ...