The project deals with the problem of juvenile justice and court punishment provided for juvenile offenders. The research gives a full coverage to the reasons that motivate the youth to commit crimes. There are various types of offenses and punishment considered based on the information provided by the finest law experts who represent international organizations and the collegiums of lawyers, addressing the problem of juvenile justice and the ways of overcoming the issue in their respective reports, reviews, and programs.
Key words: juvenile justice, crime, offender, court, delinquency
Adult delinquency is high enough while that of youth is about as high, taking an upward tendency due to the number of possible contributing incentivesbeing on rise. It is well-documented that guns do not kill people, but video games do. It is exactly through media of all kinds that young people receive motivation and have their undeveloped brutality bared. Psychological states, mental handicaps, personal animosity are what turn yesterday’s exemplary children into cold-bloodedlaw offenders. In their teens, children may well be seen to wield deadly weapon in lethal school hostage-takings and shootouts with police, to sexually harass their peers, to cyber-bully, to physically assault, to blackmail – the list goes on and on. Sometimes pushed to their limit by not being able to provide for the living, young men and women go as far as to commit robberies, thefts and burglaries. After crime there comesa well-deserved punishment, with court meting out the kind of penalty for those in the dock based on what was committed and making allowance for the age of delinquents.
According to the United Nations (2003), juvenile delinquencies are determined by a plethora of reasons that dominate a country. Economic and social factors are among the most widespread of reasons. Crisis-ridden countries to have economies on decline due to recession or stagnation, or be in the middle of political crises as well as having key state institutions getting weak due to them under-receiving funds that could provide education, public and family aid may and do cause the youth to sin against community laws. Socio-economic instability is created by low activity in employment sector that is in no capacity for providing fair and adequate salaries, which cannot but contribute to youth engagement in criminal activities of some kind (United Nations, 2003).
Asocial or deviating behavior or misdemeanor occurs in transitional societies with broken cultural traditions, in other words, norms, usually preventing young people from committing asocial acts are no longer relevant, in some society members’ personal estimation.Frustration out of inability to achieve such high social standards as education, housing, medical services, and employment may be a real propulsion that drives young individuals to overcome social injustice by every means necessary, no matter how illegal. Cognizance of unaffordability of social welfare by legal means makes juveniles become protégés of adult criminals. Apart from this possibility, young people may abuse drugs and proscribed substances in reality escaping efforts, which pushes them to committing crimes in order for them to score a fix.Urbanization is thought to be another reason of juvenile delinquency owing to the strong influence of media, weakened social relations and control, inclination for anonymity in a densely populated community (United Nations, 2003).
Also, children under careful parental guidance are far lessprone to crime activities. Conversely, those reared in families with weak family bonds and an unhealthy microclimate, abounding with beatings and conflicts, are forced into an early premature autonomy. Children brought up in one-parent and non-marital families are more likely to seek masculine prototype for them to follow among their delinquent peers. There is a well-grounded opinion formulated by experts of migration playing a critical role in turning immigrants into delinquents. Newcomers’ marginalized position as well associal differences facilitates their joining criminal roster, with people perceiving them as ought-to-be criminals (United Nations, 2003).
If there is one reason that is more relevant to youth delinquency, it is media influence. Television overhyped “cult of heroes” who achieve justice through physical means by eliminating their enemies creates the objects of worship. Overexposure to violence cultivating reality shows and movies manufactured by commercially biased producers will not stop leaving young spectators impressed as well as rendering them eager to project surrealand fictitious storylines violence onto the real life situations. What erroneously gets underestimated is such an important factor as a peer group that has its unique influence on children as a socialization institution. It is well-documented that a person is shaped by his or her entourage, which means being a part of delinquent groups is fraught with adopting its behavioral patterns by a person in need of protection.
Clarke (2013) admitted that juvenile delinquencies fell into two major categories that imply incarceration and those that do not. Incarcerations options of sentencing are as follows: detention in Juvenile Hall where they may be kept pending court hearing; still being released on probation or parole are viable options; house arrest when it is required that an abuser stay at homeunless he or she goes to school or work; “camps” or juvenile facilities where young individuals serve longer terms pending months or years (Clarke, 2013).
Juvenile courts administer justice in the case of young delinquents; however, a case may be referred to the court of a higher instance. (Roberts, 2014) asserted that there were two major types of crimes, such as felony punishable by sentencing to a term in a correctional facility, whether it be an adult or a juvenile offender and a misdemeanor punishable by probation and temporary detention.According to Clarke (2013), a judge may ordered a juvenile offender to be sent to a juvenile correctional facility and then an adult prison once he or she has reached the age of 18 in terms of the so-called “blended sentence”.According to Juvenile Delinquency (n.d.), young law abusers may be tried in court as adults for committing serious crimes, such as murder and attempted murder, armed robbery, committing arson in malice by setting fire to a building with people in it, raping, carjacking, kidnapping, committing armed crimes, drug offences, or breaking out of juvenile detention facilities. Clarke (2013) suggested there was another option called “placement”, with a young law offender living with a person other fromtheir guardian or parent, such as relative in a group or foster home.
There may also be “diversionary programs” tried in order for a perpetrator to be distracted from illegal activities. These are non-incarceration measures, such as verbal warnings for minor crimes; monetary fines up for payment to a victim or the government;community service performed on weekends; counselling assigned along with house arrest; and electronic monitoring by means of devices attached to ankles of wrists to make sure a delinquent’s whereabouts is known (Clarke, 2013). According to Richey (n.d.), community services may come in the shape of picking up trash along roadsides, cleaning public vehicles and parks, assisting at shelters for animals, working for such nonprofit organizations as churches, cemeteries, schools, and libraries, to name a few. Michon (2014) added after-school classes’ attendance and listening to a strict lecture as possible non-incarceration options. Richey (n.d.) suggested that letters of apology mightbe ordered in some cases that are written by juvenile offenders to their victim or taxpayers, incurring court hearing expenses in case of a victimless crime. Apart from writing letters, a juvenile may be ordered to write a book report or compose an essay on topics, such as the reasons of their crime, freedom, the good of not breaching law and the likes (Richey, n.d.).
There may also be a participation in non-school related activities ordered by a judge, implying neighborhood park activities, youth groups, mentor programs, alcoholics or narcotics anonymous, or parenting classes for teen parents. Important privileges that a child possesses may be restricted for the time being. They include cell phone or beeper being taken away, computer games and TV being forbidden, and driving being limited to school travels. The above-mentioned restrictive and preventive minor penalties await children for committing the following crimes: habitual truancy, shoplifting, disorderly conduct, assault and battery, smoking, drug and alcohol delinquencies, malicious injuries to property, burglaries, bomb threats, possession of weapon, and failure to stop for a blue light (Richey, n.d.).
Judges have a wide sentencing discretion to help a juvenile get reintegratedback into society (Clarke, 2013). When it comes to passing judgment on a juvenile criminal, there are circumstances to be counted with. The Juris Doctor, Kathleen Michon (2014) claimed a prosecutor or an intake officer would consider it by deciding on further proceeding the severity of the offence committed, the past record, social history, the age of a juvenile, the strength of the case evidence, the ability of parents’ controlling their child, and gender since boys are sure to be punished a great deal more often.
The youth committing a crime is no rarity these days, which happens for a variety of reasons, such as dissatisfaction with the inability to achieve high social standards, psychological and mental imparities, urbanization, migration, and peers influence. The aspirations to overcome social injustice and smooth sharp social contrasts are the focal driving force that makes young individuals achieve what is supposedly their by whatever means necessary, offending laws. Juvenile offenders may commit serious felonies that require incarceration and misdemeanor that is punishable through probation or a short-termed restriction of freedom. Probation may come in the shape of community work, writing a composition, the letter of excuse, listening to a lecture,recouping for the expenses inflicted, staying under house arrest, or being monitored by probation officers. Felonies may cause a juvenile to be tried at adult court; however, a judge will not order an offender to be sent to juvenile correctional facility until after he or she turns 16. It is up to a judge what decision to pass, which largely depends on the gravity of the crime and the past record of a juvenile law abuser.
Clarke, P. (2013, March 10). Sentencing options for juvenile crime. Legal Match. Retrieved from: http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/sentencing-options-for-juvenile-crime.html
Juvenile Delinquency. (n.d.). California Courts. Retrieved from: http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-delinquency.htm
Juvenile Delinquency. World Youth Report. (2003). United Nations. Retrieved from: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/documents/ch07.pdf
Michon, K. (2014). Juvenile delinquency: what happens in a juvenile case? NOLO Law for All.Retrieved from: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/juvenile-delinquency-what-happens-typical-case-32223.html
Richey, B. (n.d.). Creative sentencing in juvenile court. Enhancing probation as an alternative to commitment. Children’s Law Office. University of South Carolina School of Law. Retrieved from: http://childlaw.sc.edu/frmPublications/creativesentencingmanual_72200431839.pdf
Roberts, C. (2014). Juvenile delinquency: cause and effect. The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/2000/2/00.02.05.x.html