Free Should Minors Who Commit Violent Crimes Be Tried As Adults? Research Paper Sample

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Criminal Justice, Teenagers, System, Crime, Adulthood, Justice, Supreme Court, Adult

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/12

During the start of the 21st century, the juvenile courts were able to address an estimated number of 1.7 million delinquency cases or about 4,600 cases for every day (Campaign for Youth Justice, 2012, p.1). The number of juveniles being arrested dropped by 16% from 1999 to 2008, which may reflect the benefits of the juvenile court system (Campaign for Youth Justice, 2012, p.1). However, out of the 250,000 juveniles being tried and sentenced every year, those who were transferred to the adult system were 34% more likely to commit re-offense than those who remained in the juvenile justice system (Campaign for Youth Justice, 2012, p.3). From this comes the question on whether minors who commit violent crimes should be seriously tried as adults. From the effects of the adult system on juveniles during the past decades, it appears that minors should be treated not as adults but as juveniles who are not matured enough to be tested as fully-fledged adults.

History and status of the issue

Since the 1980s, the number of juvenile cases had jumped considerably, until an estimated number of 10,000 minors are being held in adult jails nowadays (Campaign for Youth Justice, 2012, p.3). Back in the 1990s, there was fear that juvenile offenders committed more serious offenses, without fear of the power of the State and the justice system. With this, the rehabilitative model of the juvenile system shifted to a standard that was more disciplinary and retributive. Special legislatures were signed in the 44 States of the United States, from 1992 to 1997, for the provisions of expediting minor offenders from the criminal court (Children’s Action Alliance, 2003, p.4). It was then that the minors started to be tried as adults because, as Mary Onelia Estudillo (2001) insisted, “Violent youth deserve punishment” (p.18). However, it turned out that the system had to be rehabilitated once again, as an effect of the harsher treatment to the juveniles, especially after it was proven in a study that “youth transferred to adult criminal court were more likely to commit re-offense” (Children’s Action Alliance, 2003, p.9). This led to reforms in the State criminal justice, as important issues were examined, reflecting over the benefits and harms that may take place.

First problem: Social

Minors who commit violent crimes should not be tried as adults, since it will lead to a major problem in the social arena. In transferring the juvenile crimes to the adult system, it appears that this procedure does not have a deterrent value. As stated in a major study, analysis proved that “the enactment and implementation of well-publicized transfer legislation does not appear to decrease the incidence of target offenses” (Children’s Action Alliance, 2003, p.12). There is no specific deterrent benefits to the society. In fact, juveniles that are being tested as adult tend to reoffend more rapidly than those who are being retained in the juvenile system (Children’s Action Alliance, 2003, p.12). Their rates are even higher than the latter, as an effect of the harsher treatment appropriate only for the adults.

Second problem: Moral

Secondly, minors who commit violent crimes should not be tried as adults, mainly because it will lead to a moral problem. Particularly, juveniles who are being tried in the court as adults will lead to harmful effects, since the treatment is too harsh for their mental and psychological state. Although punishment is vital in a particular justice system, there should likewise be rehabilitation, especially for the minors, who are not yet in their adult frame of mind. This is strengthened by the fact that, juveniles that are tried as adults may end up in a criminal court through a judicial waiver, and this stresses more punishment than that of rehabilitation. As for those who are below 15 years of age, the system will be too severe for them, as compared to those who are almost 18 years of age. Hence, it is important to remember that the basic objective of the juvenile justice system is for the minors to be rehabilitated, and for them to become productive members of the society. Putting juveniles under the adult criminal court will only reflect immorality, mainly because those who should not be treated punitively would be harassed, without giving respect to their actual condition.

Third problem: Inequity

Lastly, minors who commit violent crimes should not be tried as adults because it will only lead to destabilization, mainly as an effect of inequity in treating both adults and juveniles. As writer Keith Ablow (2014) stated, the act of having a juvenile tried in court as an adult is actually a “perversion of our justice system a dangerous sign that our legal system is itself losing sight of reality and truth” (p.1). A juvenile is not an adult mainly because he/she does not have yet the right to vote, to consent to marriage, or to honor contracts. In other words, juveniles are not yet eligible to handle or be given life sentences in prison. This would be totally unfair for them, especially since they are not yet mature enough to make a strong decision of their own and thus, had not formulated their decisions about doing violence. More so, if juveniles are to be tried as adults, even though they are immature, then is it not only fair that adults, who are immature, be tried as juveniles? The process will be too harsh, as the objective should center on rehabilitation and retribution.

Conclusion

Minors who commit violent crimes should not be tried as adults. Doing this will only lead to major problems, either in terms of moral, social, or inequity. Instead of treating minors as mentally capable adults, it would be more effective if the juvenile justice system would be reformed and rehabilitated. Most of the adult jails in many States are not even equipped to handle juveniles, who usually have special needs (Children’s Action Alliance, 2003, p.19). There are also some additional costs that had to be provided, in addition to accommodation needs and the services that should improve the psychological state of these minors. The juvenile justice system should then be harnessed, so that instead of putting the juveniles in adult jails, they should instead receive provisional support to gain retribution.

References:

Ablow, K. (2014, April 13). 16-year-old alleged school stabber should not be tried in adult court. Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/04/13/16-year-old-alleged-school-stabber-should-not-be-tried-in-adult-court/.
Campaign for Youth Justice. (2012). Key facts: Youth in the justice system. Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://www.campaignforyouthjustice.org/documents/KeyYouthCrimeFacts.pdf.
Children’s Action Alliance. (2003, June). Prosecuting juveniles in the adult criminal justice system: key issues and recommendations for Arizona. Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://www.njjn.org/uploads/digital-library/resource_119.pdf.
Estudillo, M.O. (2001). Juveniles should be tried as adults in certain circumstances. The Guardian. Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://www.gale.cengage.com/pdf/samples/sp740776.pdf.

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WePapers. (2020, November, 12) Free Should Minors Who Commit Violent Crimes Be Tried As Adults? Research Paper Sample. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-should-minors-who-commit-violent-crimes-be-tried-as-adults-research-paper-sample/
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