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Juvenile in the Adult Court System - the Rule or the Exception

Autor:   •  April 12, 2011  •  Essay  •  797 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,322 Views

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"The Rule or the Exception"

The basic premise for creating the juvenile justice system was to construct an environment in which those deemed delinquent would have access to adequate treatment. Criminal court action was thought to be too harsh for minors, inhibiting their chances at successfully rehabilitating from their crimes. But as the juvenile crime rate continued to climb on levels of frequency and severity, the justice system looked to make amendments to better protect the public. "The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 2002 was passed to increase the punishment for violent juvenile offenders" by creating legal means to waive an individuals right to be tried as a juvenile (SITE 1). The purpose of this right to judicial waiver was to allow a level of individualization in each case involving a juvenile. The two major factors contributing to the decision to transfer a juvenile to criminal court are the availability of treatment and level of threat to public safety. Since these two factors weigh heavily on the decision to transfer, prior convictions play a major role. If the individual has been subjected to prior treatment for crime under the context of juvenile court, further treatment may not be useful. The process of transferring a juvenile to the adult court system has created controversy for years. With the number of youths being incarcerated continually rising, many factors must be further explored to establish the best judicial method for dealing with these crimes.

Judicial waivers are at the discretion of the judge and rely on three basic criteria: age of the offender, severity of the offense, and prior record. In presumptive waivers, the burden of proof is on the juvenile to prove his or her inability to be tried as an adult. In some states, a judge is required to waive jurisdiction for certain offenses or age of offender. Violent crimes in particular have recently been apt leave juveniles being tried as adults. Those pushing for harsher policies ultimately believe the juvenile system has failed at rehabilitating youths. Although the legal system has done its best to create a fair process in determining jurisdiction, research implicates that more harm than help is being done. "The crackdown on violent juvenile crimes and the invasion of retributive ideals into the juvenile justice system has created a multitude of judicial processes that have exponentially increased the transfer of juveniles to the criminal court system" SITE ONE). Studies have shown that transfer to criminal


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