Juvenile Justice System

347 Words2 Pages
Should juveniles be tried as adults in the criminal justice system? Juveniles have many rights and responsibilities in which they have to be accounted for. Before the 1900s, young offenders were treated like adults. Later, a separate court was established in 1899 which enabled the criminal justice system to treat children differently. The Illinois Juvenile Court Act allowed a children’s court to hear cases that dealt with young offenders; delinquent, dependent, and neglected adolescents. The state could protect children from families who were not providing the proper care. The idea of parens patriae was established, meaning “the state as the parent.” Under this doctrine, the court was to be paternalistic and base their decisions on individualized justice. Judges did not base their decisions on the delinquent’s alleged crimes, but on the best interests for them. This allowed judges to have more discretion and created a problem of fairness and equality. These decision makers would look at the young offenders’ characteristics such as race, sex, age, family status, and social class. Since the U.S. Supreme Court has introduced the due process clause into the juvenile justice system, there has been a more retributive approach on punishment and less focus on the delinquent’s rights. With this punitive attitude, there has been a less emphasis on rehabilitation which should allow young offenders to be tried as adults. Under certain circumstances, all states allow juveniles to be transferred to the adult criminal court. Since the 1940’s, all States have had at least one provision that allowed juvenile offenders to be tried as adults. These provisions are usually based on age and offense. There are three categories of transfer provisions which include judicial waiver, concurrent jurisdiction, and statutory exclusion. Juvenile rights and
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