Juvenile delinquents are young individuals aged eighteen and below who commit crimes or acts against the law. At times, because of their innocence and vulnerability to the society surrounding them, these young individuals become accustomed to living a life that they think is alright as long as it gives them the chance to enjoy what they want out of life. It is very common among those who get involved in criminal cases at such a young age, that they have wrong perception about life and that they were taught differently as to how they should deal with particular situations in life. Most of the time, young ones who are exposed to a detrimental society grow up to be rather accustomed to the manner by which people get robbed and get taken disadvantage of and consider such situations rather normal. They also learn how to fight for their needs in a violent and aggressive manner. In short, their characteristics and behavior are often grounded on the wrong values; a reason for them to be vulnerable enough when it comes to committing actions prohibited by the law.
As a daunting result, young individuals who commit crime often end up depending on two specific categories of dealing with the situation they have been subjected to (a) one, they might insist that they did nothing wrong as they actually think that they are just doing what they need to do because that is how they were brought up; (b)or two, they may distinctively push themselves down, feeling guilty and at times even feeling lonely believing that they do not deserve any second chance. No matter how a juvenile delinquent faces the situation, the way he gets out of it and learns from his past will be determined by the environment that juvenile courts actually provides juvenile delinquents with. In the study performed by Carolyn Breda (2014), she tries to explore the different aspects of concentration that Juvenile Courts give attention to. In the study, she focuses on Mental Health Orientation that the courts have as this will determine how the juveniles are to be treated once they are turned over to serve their legal sanctions in secluded facilities. Depending on the time they are supposed to spend within the said holding facilities, it is believed that during those times of being ‘incarcerated’, they are to develop particular cultures that they will grow into and would surely use when they get out from under the care of the law. Using a statewide recorded data from Tennessee, Breda tries to observe how the mental health orientation of courts actually affects the being and the personal development of the young delinquents themselves.
Most children or young adults who commit crimes experience emotional and mental disturbances. Their capability to recognize right from wrong and not being able to decipher what is relatively against the law is considered to come from particular deeper problems. This is one factor that Mental Health Orientation issues and discussion should be able to concentrate on. This is why it is expected that in juvenile courts, there would be programs that would be directed to youth care especially dedicated to improving their mental, emotional and social culture. In the study of Breda, she points out the need of several mental health organizations to come together in creating a basic dependable system that provides a distinct pattern as to how juvenile courts should deal with the need to change the young offenders’ outlook in life.
Overall, the study supports the idea that juvenile courts are not made only to punish the young ones who commit crimes against the law. It was basically made to make sure that these young ones need to be guided well, they need the assistance for them to grow into better individuals, separately apart from the kind of person they think they are as they commit illegal actions. The conclusion of Breda in her study strongly suggests in strengthening the mental health programs of juvenile courts. It is believed that through this approach, the younger generation of retrained individuals would be able to get over their situation and move on forward to a better future that awaits them. These individuals are young and they have a lot more chances to start a new life. They may not be able to enjoy clean slate anymore, but at least, given the guidance of the juvenile courts, these individuals would learn what it is like to be on the right track and thus be motivated to stay within its limitations. To improve the system used in juvenile courts, it is highly suggested through the study that the application of psychological mental tests be used before the young offenders are to be kept in custody could actually lower the chances of making these young individuals a victim to the careless system of justice. Every individual, especially children have the right to second chances. At this point, the program applied to help the young delinquents with their emotional and mental development says a lot about the real goal of the court to straighten out the path of those who actually want to change.
Breda, C. (2014). The Mental Health Orientation of Juvenile Courts. ProQuest.