There have been proposals to divide the juvenile courts in two divisions which may result to both advantages and disadvantages to the taxpayer and the youth offender. Under this proposed system, the offender shall either be tried under the juvenile delinquency court and there are those who will be tried under the status offender court. As a general rule, majority of the youth offenders are charged for delinquency cases have been classified as status offenders.
One of the benefits or advantages of dividing the juvenile system in two divisions will redound to the benefit of the status offenders since they are given unequal or unfair treatment by the juvenile courts. It is for this reason that there is a need to divide the juvenile system in two divisions. By address the issues concerning the status offenders apart and separate from the youth offenders will be to the advantage of the status offenders since there are assured of fair treatment, in accordance to the offenses they have committed.
When the juvenile court will be divided into two sections, it will allow the juvenile courts to impose punishment to the juvenile delinquents (Anderson, 2003). Such instance will be beneficial for the tax payers since there will a reduction of cases involving juvenile offenses, which will result to savings on the part of the government. This means that taxpayer’s money will not be used to process and hear the juvenile cases.
At the same time, dividing the juvenile court system into two sections shall result to the proper imposition of penalty for the juvenile delinquents on the basis of the gravity of their offenses. This will be beneficial for the juvenile delinquents since their punishment shall commensurate to the crimes or offenses that they committed.
Another advantage of dividing the courts is that it will improve the harmonization and synchronization between the social justice system and the juvenile justice system (Champion, 2007). This will allow the juvenile courts to distinguish the severe crimes and minor crimes. Thomas & Chappell (2003) state that with this kind of set-up, the juvenile court system is expected to be more responsive and focused to prevent juvenile crimes and reduce the number of cases. At the same time, the youth offenders shall face the court as status offenders, and not appear before adult courts for minor offenses (Anderson, 2003).
On the other hand, dividing the juvenile courts into two sections shall also bear some disadvantages. In the event there is irregular or inappropriate performance of the new courts, it will be detrimental to the tax payers and the youth offenders since it may result to financial issues for failure to deliver services. This will be disadvantageous to the taxpayers since the division of the juvenile courts will mean additional manpower and tax payers’ money will be used for the operation.
Another foreseen drawback is that the youth offenders who shall be under the juvenile delinquency courts will have to go through more specialty courts, compared to those who shall be tried in status offender courts. McGhee, Alice, & Waterhouse (2012) argue that the determining factor on how a youth offender shall be punished must be based on the nature of offenses committed. When the youth offender committed an adult crime, he or she must be tried before the juvenile delinquent court. On the other hand, if the juvenile delinquent commits a minor or child offense, he or she will have to be tried under the courts of status offenders (McGhee et al., 2012). It can be concluded that there are more advantages than the disadvantages after weighing all the pros and cons of dividing the juvenile system
Anderson C. (2003). A Policy Maker’s Guide to Effective Juvenile Justice Programs. New York: Penguin.
Champion D. (2007). Juvenile Justice System: The Delinquency, Processing and the Law. New
York: Prentice Hall.
McGhee, J., Alice, L., & Waterhouse, M. (2012). Massachusetts and Scotland: From Juvenile Justice to Child Welfare? Child Welfare, 91(5),169-191.
Thomas C. & Chappell C. (2003). Readings in Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Justice. New
York: Prentice Hall.