1.The juvenile justice system has seen various changes over the decades. Minors and children were not always treated as adults in the court of law in as much as they are today. This change began with the Supreme Court’s due process reforms which “provided the groundwork for the get tough movement in juvenile justice that emerged during the 1980s and 1990” (). One such case was “In re Gault (1967), in which the Court found that a child has many of the same due process rights as an adult” (Schmalleger, 2017, p.527). The juvenile reform expanded further with laws making it possible, for example, to charge juveniles as adults for certain more serious crimes (). ” Lawmakers made it clear that it was their belief that enhanced accountability and swift sanctions were both a matter of basic justice and a way to combat delinquency and improve the quality of life in our nation’s communities” ().

More modern research on the development of minors shows “compared with adults, adolescents are more impulsive, short-sighted, and responsive to immediate rewards and less likely to consider long-term consequences” (Schmalleger, 2017, p. 524). In fact, the National Academy of Sciences found that ” young people (1) have less capacity for self-regulation in emotionally charged contexts; (2) have a heightened sensitivity to proximal external influences, such as peer pressure and immediate incentives; and (3) show less ability than adults to make judgments and decisions that require future orientation” (Schmalleger, 2017, p. 524). With this research in mind, the momentum of adultification has changed some in favor of the more rehabilitative forms of punishment such as juvenile probation.

From a crime prevention standpoint, the adultification type model could make a strong argument in regards to accountability and just deserts. The research on juvenile brains suggests that rehabilitative action may be very important to setting a juvenile right in preparation for adulthood. This research suggests that such sanctions could be very important due to the critical stage of development of juveniles’ mental capacities. Several evidence-based studies and development of programs back up the argument for the push away from the tougher sanctions of adultification with the goal in mind being the reform of juveniles into productive members of society when they become of adult age (Schmalleger, 2017). This could prove very beneficial for the potential decrease in the adult prison population which is currently rather large from a per capita standpoint.

References

Bolin, R. (2015, February). Adultification in Juvenile Corrections: Examining the Orientations of Juvenile and Adult Probation and Parole Officers.

2. The original intention of the juvenile justice court system was to provide guidance and direction to troubled youth (Liles & Moak, 2015). When they were first established, juvenile courts were separate establishments from adult courts. “The get-tough on crime movement of the 1980s and 1990s chipped away at the philosophy of treatment that encompassed the original court” (Liles & Moak, 2015, p. 88). The juvenile justice system was “adultified” by court rulings and legislative changes that narrowed the distinction between adult and juvenile systems of justice (Bolin & Applegate, 2015). The legislation changes made it easier for juvenile offenders to be transferred to the adult system. Blended sentences combining juvenile dispositions and adult sentences were created as well as creating correctional programming for juveniles sentenced as adults (Schmalleger, 2017).

However, the juvenile justice system is trying to create separation from the adult system and return to its original intention. A major shift in legislation is the reduction of juveniles who are sentenced to life without the possibility parole. Courts are now allowed to consider mitigating factors prior to imposing a life sentence because “they allow sentencers to consider such things as youthfulness, impulsivity, outside influence, and amenability to change” (Liles & Moak, 2015, p. 88). A Supreme Court ruling in 2012 held that de facto life sentences for juvenile offenders were unconstitutional. “A de facto life sentence is one in which an offender is sentenced to a term of years that is equal to or longer than a life sentence” (Liles & Moak, 2015, p. 89). The 2007 United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child “called for all children in conflict with the law to be treated with respect and dignity that recognizes their vulnerability and lack of full awareness of the consequences of their actions” (Liles & Moak, 2015, p. 90).

The Bible is clear that our children need discipline. When we deny our children discipline we are denying them the peaceable fruit of righteousness and endangering their soul. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” Heb 12:11 (New Living Translation). “Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives” (Pro 19:18).

References

Bolin, R. M., & Applegate, B. K. (2015, May 30). Adultification in juvenile corrections: Examining the orientations of juvenile and adult probation and parole officers. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 41, 321-339. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12103-015-9298-2

Liles, A., & Moak, S. C. (2015). Changing juvenile justice policy in response to the US Supreme Court: Implementing Miller v. Alabama. Youth Justice, 15(1), 76-92. https://doi.org/10.1177/1473225414529201

 
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