Juvenile Justice Systems
Juvenile justice systems were introduced in the 19th century with the objective of handling youthful offenders in different ways and systems from adults. In the late 1800s, criminal offences committed by youths were considered as separate and distinct from the offences committed by adults. This prompted the establishment of the systems where new mechanisms of social control were developed in order to help address children who were prone to causing problems in the society (Joseph, 1995). The systems have ever since their inception utilized diversion programs and various processes for charging and punishing the juveniles and people have raised concerns about the same.
With normal prosecution systems deemed harsh and costly for juveniles, diversion programs are often preferred. The programs are vital as they give an offender an opportunity of avoiding prosecution through completing various requirements of specific programs. Juvenile justice systems often propose parent training programs for juveniles (Del & Trulson, 2005). The out-of-system programs involve parents training their children on the right and morally upright social behaviors. Though these vary, their main objective is to reform the youthful offenders and make them acceptable in the society. Many juveniles have been reformed through such programs, only that they are effective for strict and concerned parents. Justice juvenile systems also propose mentoring programs for the youthful offenders. Mentoring is common, and this involves a youth having someone to mould him or her and ensure that discipline and morally upright behavior are instilled (Krisberg, 2005). Conversely, the mentors must be successful and respected individuals in the society. These programs take place out of the juvenile systems and they have also been vital in helping reduce criminal offences among the youth. The mentors make decisions on what and how to punish the offenders in case they show unacceptable behaviors. Curfew prevention programs have also helped juvenile justice systems deal with chronic youthful offenders. The programs involve restricting the offenders to their homes and alienating them from the public. Many a times, serious offences like robbery with violence and murder committed by youths are prevented through such programs. The major offence committed by the youths today is drug and substance abuse. Continuous abuse leads to addiction which makes the youths unacceptable in the society. In dealing with this, juvenile justice systems have proposed underage drinking prevention and intervention programs. The programs ensure that offenders have no access to drugs. Besides, the programs have ensured that substances like alcohol are not sold to underage individuals. This is a global campaign conducted by non-governmental organizations and alcohol manufacturing companies. In dealing with frequent road fatalities that occur as a result of the youths driving under the influence of alcohol, juvenile justice systems have proposed Drinking under the Influence (DUI) programs. The programs involve educating the youth on the impact of alcohol and other drugs (Balakrishnan et al, 2010).
Charging youths as adults is an issue of the past. In the late 1800s, it was realized that crime and misbehavior by youths was separate and distinct from adults. This led to the establishment of juvenile systems for the youth and separate court systems for the adults. Using adult punishment for the youths was found to be harsh. At times, youthful offenders succumbed to the harsh treatments. There was objection and opposition of the practice. Punishments were abolished in the youthful systems and instead, diversion programs as discussed above were considered effective.
Balakrishnan, K. G., Hansaria, V., & Jose, P. I. (2010). Juvenile justice system: Along with Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and rules, 2007: working manual for stake holders. New Delhi, India: Universal Law Pub. Co.
Del, C. R. V., & Trulson, C. R. (2005). Juvenile justice: System, process, and the law. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.
Joseph, J. (1995). Black youths, delinquency, and juvenile justice. Westport (Conn.: Praeger.
Krisberg, B. (2005). Juvenile justice: Redeeming our child