A child being tried as an adult has become a topic that has elicited much debate over the recent years across the world. Many are for the view that children should be tried in juvenile courts due to the various risks they may face, while others cite the advantage that many children and youth take of juvenile courts as a reason as to why they should be tried as adults. Arguments raised have been on which option between the juvenile justice systems or children being tried as adults have been more effective with dealing with crimes committed by juvenile offenders. For this research, two sources are going to be used to be reviewed on how they fit on this area of study.
Ziedenberg, J., Schiraldi, V. The Risks Juveniles Face When They Are Incarcerated with Adults. Washington. Justice Policy Institute, 1997. Print. This source talks about the many atrocities that children face in adult jails and how they come back into the society as hardened criminals rather than changed people. The source talks about how the housing of both adults and young offenders has proven to be self-destructive and self-defeating to the young offenders. It further highlights the risks children face when tried as adults and proposes the best ways of handling the juvenile offenders. This source will help in the assessment of whether juveniles tried as adults become more hard core criminals or whether they come out better people.
Estudillio, M. Juveniles Should Be Tried As Adults in Certain Circumstances. San Diego: University of California, 2001. Print. Estudillio Mary talks about how the juvenile courts were established centuries ago to handle petty offences committed by juveniles such as shop lifting and vandalism among others, but in the recent past, it has been abused by juveniles who commit more serious crimes with the view that they will be treated as petty offences. She proposes that in order to accord justice to victims, and to prevent such crimes from ever happening in the near future, tougher punishment systems should be imposed and sometimes the juveniles should be tried as adults. Estudillio states that “it is not a war against the youth but a battle against the immeasurable loss of life and personal security, and wasted human resources.” pg. 2. She gives an insight to the mind of a juvenile offender who knows what to expect when committing a crime and how the juvenile justice system has proven weak in handling more serious crimes.
The juvenile justice system was developed because of the many unspeakable atrocities that children faced when in adult jails and the fact that when they came back to societies they were even more hard core criminals (Ziedenberg & Schiraldi, pg.1). Despite all this lessons of history, many children still end up ben\ing tried as adults which may lead them to adult jails. Many law enforcement officers and child advocates have been against this arguing the destructive effects of placing children in adult jails. Research has shown that the placing of children in adult institutions always accentuates criminal behavior soon after their release from these adult centers. The incarceration of juveniles together with murderers, rapists, arsons and other criminals usually raises the questions on the path a child would lead soon after his or her release. Juvenile offenders often need adult guidance and this guidance they may not be able to obtain in jails as there are no role models there. The placing of children in adult institutions exposes them to different risks that may lead them to self-destructing paths. Some of these risks include suicide in the jail cells, assault, rape and victimization among others. For example, suicide among the children in adult jails has been found out to be seven times that in juvenile detention centers. These risks show what children might go through when tried as adults and incarcerated.
On the other hand, trying of children in juvenile courts has been found out to be ineffective in crimes of greater magnitude among juvenile offenders (Estudillio, 2001). This has led to more and more juveniles ending up committing the same crimes with the view that they would be pardoned or set free. In some instances, youths have been known to commit crimes without thought because they know they cannot be tried as adults. Juvenile courts over the years have proven lenient on juvenile offenders with more serious crimes. Victims of these crimes often end up lamenting and often claim injustices on their part. The fact that offenders are children has led to the notion that they cannot be punished heavily because they are still young and learning. Violent and other preventable crimes have plagues many cities of the world and have been scarcely punished because of the age of the perpetrators. This has called for the option of children being tried as adults to curb the ever growing menace of juvenile offenders and as a means to prevent such crimes from taking place in future.
These two sources would be aimed at giving insights on whether the trying of children as adults has proven effective in the reformation of young offenders. The research is designed to assess the hypothesis that children being tried as adults’ leads to far worse behaviors than children tried as juveniles. More sources on the effectiveness of juvenile courts on shaping behavior among children and improving societies will be looked into. Other sources on the detrimental effects of trying children as adults would also be referred to in order to give an informed decision. Further research questions would be to determine the ineffectiveness of juvenile courts in handling more serious offences and to assess the potential of adult courts in eradicating juvenile crimes. Less research has been carried out on children being tried as adults. Literature about the potential risks that those children face as a result of being tried of adults is also lacking. This research offers an amazing opportunity to investigate further into this topic, highlighting the potential weaknesses of juvenile courts and the destructive effects of children being tried as adults. The proposed recommendations would be used by law enforcement authorities, child advocates and other juvenile justice officers in making informed decisions on how to handle juvenile crimes to the benefit of both the offenders and the victims.
Estudillio, M. Juveniles Should Be Tried As Adults in Certain Circumstances. San Diego: University of California, 2001. Print.
Ziedenberg, Jason, and Vincent Schiraldi. The Risks Juveniles Face When They Are Incarcerated with Adults. Washington, DC: Justice Policy Institute, 1997. Print.