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Adults vs. Juveniles, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 328

Essay

The judicial system of the United States is an interwoven fabric of precedent and procedure. There are differences within how the system treats offenders depending on the specifics of the situation. For example, first-time offenders may receive a lighter sentence than repeat offenders. Major differences in criminal justice procedures occur between the treatment of adult defendants and the treatment of juvenile defendants.

In the juvenile justice system, there is a focus on rehabilitation through individualized justice (Bilchik, 1999). Because the individuals committing the crimes are young, there is a belief that their behaviors can be formed in a different way (“Juvenile”). By contrast, he adult or criminal justice system does not focus on rehabilitation (“Juvenile”). In this system, there is the belief that the punishment should fit the crime (“Juvenile”). The perceived value is that the aforementioned punishment will deter the crime (“Juvenile”).

The courts have placed limitations on the access of criminal records for juveniles, reflecting the belief that these individuals have a chance at changing their behaviors (“Juvenile”). This is not the case for the adults. Adult criminal records are public record, meaning that citizens have easy access to the information (Bilcik, 1999). The justice system is much less willing to stigmatize a juvenile offender than it is with an adult offender.

The Constitution entitles Americans to a jury trial. However, not all states allow juveniles this right (“Juvenile”). While adult offenders go on trial for their crimes, juvenile offenders attend a hearing (“Juvenile”). At the hearing, the judge reviews information such as social history, along with the legal factors (“Juvenile”). Facts are the basis of adult criminal trials (“Juvenile”).

These differences between adult and juvenile treatment in the courts reflect Americans intentions to protect the youth. As children, people tend to have less experience and sometimes make poor judgments. This belief is reflected in the judicial system’s treatment of American youth.

References

Bilchik, S. (1999). Juvenile Justice: A Century of Change. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/juvenile/stats/juvvsadult.html

Juvenile VS Adult Justice. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/178995.pdf

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