Trying Juviniles As Adults Trying Juveniles as Adults and Placing them into Adult Institutions Juveniles being tried as adults, who is to blame? In todays society it is not who or whom it is what. Juvenile offenders are now facing a double-edged sword. Not only can they be tried in a Juvenile court for a crime committed. They are now being charged as adults. Charging a juvenile as an adult has stirred up many different views. When should we say enough is enough? Violent crimes committed by juveniles have become a growing epidemic.
The children of today are subjected to violence in popular songs, television shows, and even computer games. Parents having guns accessible to children and the society the child lives in all play a part in the destruction of our youth. Juvenile offenders are now facing tougher punishment for their actions. Juvenile crime is stated as an act committed by a minor that would be considered a crime committed by an adult, such as vandalism, burglary, assault, or murder (Silverstein 11). Juveniles are committing these crimes against families, classmates, and strangers.
In many states, a juvenile is any one under the age of eighteen. Young offenders commit these crimes because they feel neglected, that no one cares, and this is a way to get attention. However, professionals say that juvenile offenders commit these crimes due to being abused or even ignored as a child (Valentine). Telling a parent to not ignore, punish, or leave your child home alone or your child could grow to become a criminal, seems severe. Why dont we just tell them how to raise their children? We as a society can not place the blame on a parent the juveniles are the ones at fault. Juvenile crime is dated as far back as the 1600s.
Where in the Massachusetts colony, a teenager over sixteen years of age who had cursed at or hit his parents could receive the death penalty (Landau 88). In this time-period, this seemed to be a severe punishment. However, surely it made teenagers think about their actions before acting on them. In the 1880s, immigrants were the source of juvenile crime. Young immigrants were faced with many cultural differences that led them to crimes.
Young Immigrant families were starving therefore stealing was their major crime (Landau 89). The juvenile justice system was condemned by society in the 1960s (Landau 89). This would show the first signs of serious juvenile offenders receiving lesser sentences than juveniles who committed minor crimes would. There is no national juvenile justice system in the United States (Landau 90). Each states law on juvenile violence varies.
Juvenile crime went on the rise in the 1980-1990s. Murder has been the leading felony among juveniles. However, in 1994, 60% of juvenile offenders who committed murder were African American black men (Silverstein 12). Our legal system has two different court systems. One, Juvenile court is where we hear a lot of our cases on custody battles, child support payments, and even misdemeanors committed by juveniles. Secondly, Adult courts other wise known as Criminal court.
This is where adults find out their fate for a crime committed against another. Juvenile Offenders could be tried in both systems. In some cases the prosecutor can file them directly into criminal court. This process is called concurrent jurisdiction. States have another form called statutory exclusion meaning that if the crime committed is serious enough the juvenile will automatically is tried as an adult (Hunzeker). The Juvenile system seemed to be the answer. However, it had flaws.
Juvenile offenders are protected from society. The accused does not receive a criminal record for crimes committed. This results in a problem for judges and repeat offenders. If there is no record of their crimes, how will they do the time (Landau 90)? Small portions of cases do not even make it to court (Landau 90). Juvenile offenders are set free for crimes that adults get life in prison. If we set an example like that juvenile violence will continue to rise.
Victims are the ones who are suffering. With the inconsistencies of the Juvenile system, a young offender could walk which would be more traumatic for the victim than the crime committed against them (Valentine). The juvenile system has failed in violent crimes committed by young people. Transferring a juvenile into an adult court can be complicated. Attorneys and judges are faced with decisions of which court to try juvenile offenders in.
Each state has its own age limit on who can be tried as adults. They range from thirteen to sixteen years of age. In a survey conducted 93% say that a 13 year-old should be charged as an adult for serious crimes. There are states though that go with the philosophy if your old enough to do the crime, youre old enough to do the time (Hunzeker). However, Valentine states, how can we charge a juvenile as an adult when we establish an age limit for everything else such as voting, driving, buying cigarettes and alcohol, and seeing some movies (Valentine)? Why should juveniles be treated different from adults? In most instances the juvenile committing the horrifying crime has knowledge of his or hers actions.
The United States Supreme Court set forward criteria for juvenile offenders to be tried as adults. When a juvenile commits murder, manslaughter, rape, kidnapping, armed robbery, arson, sodomy, or aggravated assault, and the juvenile can not be rehabilitated with mental counseling, they can be tried as an adult (Silverstein 77). Juveniles who are tried as adults are not getting the punishment they deserve. OLeary states the punishment of boot camp, life imprisonment or execution should fit the viciousness of the crime, not the age of the violent offender (Garcetti 178). Cases have shown that juveniles are often getting a lower conviction rate in adult court rather than the juvenile system (Coalition of Juvenile Justice 180-186).
The safety of these juveniles is in our hands. Transferring a juvenile into adult court can put the child at danger (Justice). Children should be placed into a separate facility from adults. With the overcrowding of our prisons, we are putting juvenile offenders in dangerous situations. Research from the Childrens Defense fund suggests that juveniles in adult institutions are five times more likely to be sexually assaulted, twice as likely to be beaten by staff, and 50 percent more likely to be attacked with a weapon than those confined in a juvenile facility (Justice).
Sources state that, adult facilities are a school for more crimes that a juvenile may learn while incarcerated (Landau 96). Placing our children in facilities in which they are being sexually abused, beaten or even killed is cruel punishment. Does the public know of these terrible things being done to these juveniles behind closed doors? There are many solutions to reinsure the safety of our children. The public should demand the government to build juvenile facilities. Local study states that 87% of people surveyed agreed there should be a separate facility for serious juvenile offenders.
Trying a juvenile as an adult is one thing but then we place them in danger. Building new juvenile facilities would not only help the overcrowding; it would keep the child safe. Having juveniles sentenced to this type of facility until the age of eighteen and then transferred to an adult institution may be a solution. The facility should hold the same discipline as an adult prison, but keeping the services provided to a minimum. We are trying to teach these cr …