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Sample Dissertation Discussion Paper on Juvenile Justice: A Concern on Development Differences

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Sample Dissertation Discussion Paper on Juvenile Justice: A Concern on Development Differences

Developmental Differences

With crime on the rise, the criminal justice system has toughened the severity of its punishments, even on children. However, children who commit crime are viewed as juveniles, rather than adults, although the case of Christian Fernandez took a different angle. Christian, charged with the murder of his 2 year old brother, caused shock internationally and a great debate on whether he should be viewed as an adult. However, the case details reveal a challenging upbringing, which was characterized by negligence, sexual molestation, and physical abuse – which could be major contributing factors to his actions. His case has led to concerns on the judicial system and the community as a whole, not taking into consideration the developmental differences between children and adults.

The increment of punishment for juveniles who have been convicted reveals that the community does not take into account developmental differences. The reasoning of children is quite different; it fails to be logical, and even in the event they commit crimes, they remain children. This implies that most children charged with crime do not even understand their trial proceedings, or even the fact that they are being sent to a correctional facility. However, these developmental differences are proven otherwise by Bech and Cauffman (2004) in their case study that attempted to investigate whether juveniles transferred to an adult court are more likely to indulge in greater offences, and whether those tried in the juvenile court and housed with fellow minors do not engage in offences. Their findings reveal that the theory of housing juveniles separately from adults is baseless. This shows that the community’s lack of consideration on development differences is supported by the findings, yet, though the theory is unfounded, children’s functioning still remains different from that of adults.

References

Bechtold, J., & Cauffman, E. (2014). Tried as an adult, housed as a juvenile: A tale of youth from two courts incarcerated together. Law and Human Behavior, 38(2), 126-138

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