Juveniles and the Criminal Justice System

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Juveniles and the Criminal Justice system: Do they belong in adult court? By: Q. L. J. American Military University LSTD 502 December 25, 2011 THESIS “Yes. . . . I have come across some young people who are so sophisticated and who have committed such heinous crimes that the adult system is the place for them to be. I haven't come across a lot, but there have been some. . . . It can happen, and it does happen. . . .” - Judge LaDoris Cordell, Superior Court of Santa Clara County, California As the frequency and the seriousness of juvenile offending increases, our legislature has responded by making it easier for juvenile offenders to be tried as adults in the criminal justice system. This could be more harmful than helpful, as our juveniles get lost in a correctional system filled with hardened criminals, more opportunity to become repeat offenders, and less opportunity for rehabilitation. “If we could take every kid and surround the kid with full-time staffs of psychologists and child advocates and drug and alcohol counselors, then perhaps no kid should be in adult court. But the fact is, there are only a limited number of resources in the juvenile justice system, and they can only perform a limited number of functions. To optimize those services for the kids that can benefit the greatest amount from them, you have to make the hard call…..” Kurt Kumli, supervising deputy district attorney for the Juvenile Division of the Santa Clara County's District Attorney's office in California, makes a valid point when interviewed by PBS on whether Juveniles belong in the adult court system. Juvenile delinquents often need more than the juvenile justice system is prepared to provide. However state and federal jurisdictions have taken a “get tough” approach to juveniles who commit the more serious crimes, such as murder, armed robbery, and drug
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