Should Juvenile Offenders Be Tried And Punished As Adults

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Should Juvenile Offenders be Tried and Punished as Adults

Should Juvenile Offenders be Tried and Punished as Adults


The scope of our research will be to evaluate the decision of prosecuting and punishing of juvenile offenders as adults. Studies have identified severe consequences of prosecuting juveniles in adult courts. Processing juveniles as adults will make them receive prison terms rather than probation terms (Bishop, 2000). Juveniles who commit serious crimes like murder, forcible rape, attempted murder, robbery etc. A general perception is when the punishment is harsh; the offender will be more cautious next time. The idea behind trying and punishing juveniles with same or similar punishments as adults is to reduce the crime rate. The New York's Juvenile Offender Law came into to effect on 1978 which lowered the age for being charged by the criminal court in the serious crime. Criminologist Simon Singer and David McDowell analyzed the effects of the law on the rate of serious juvenile crime. They took arrest rates for four years prior to the promulgation of the law and six years after the law. They concluded that the adult level punishment did not rein the serious juvenile crime levels (Singer & McDowell, 1988). Similar research was conducted by Eric Jensen and Linda Metsger who also concluded that the adult level punishment does not provide deterrence on the level of juvenile crime. (Jensen and Linda, 1994)

Problem Statement

Punishment is given to offenders, adult and juvenile to make them realize their mistakes and become a part of the society again after serving their punishment. It has been observed that juveniles, who are tried in adult courts and are sent to adult prisons, are most like to return to crimes. (Fagan, 1996) analyzed that there is 76% probability that the juvenile convicted in robbery offenders will go in recidivism.

The Rationale for the Research

By conducting this study, we will be able to know if submitting juveniles in adult courts for trial and then punishment will reduce their recidivism. The crime rate in juveniles is on the rise and more violent crimes are being committed by them. We need to see if the juvenile system is weak as it will lose its effectiveness and we need to see if the adult court system is too strict for juveniles as “we might not want to kill the fly with an elephant gun” (Penelope, 1994). By highlighting inefficiencies in the system we ...
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