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Incarceration Rates in Juvenile Offenders - Essay Example

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Criminal punishment penalties are imposed by the judiciary on people who violate the criminal law. Criminal law prevents the reinforcement of behavior which is considered detrimental to the society. These violators can be subjected to a variety of punishments ranging from imposition of fines to the confinement of the individual to a jail (known as incarceration)…
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Incarceration Rates in Juvenile Offenders
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Download file to see previous pages are all strongly linked to the drug business.
The Juvenile Justice System is the legal system responsible for looking after cases involving the minors. The system came into being in 1899 in the US policy so that the young people can understand the effects of their actions, and comprehend the irreversible reality of committing a criminal act. The other reason that the Juvenile Justice System was formed was because of the peril youth faced in the adult prison. Young offenders were at a great risk of being molested at the hands of adult criminals and committing suicide. Those children who end up in adult institutions, however, have it worst of all. Children in any adult institution are more vulnerable and more likely to be exploited as the Amnesty report says that they are eight times more likely to commit suicide, five times more likely to be raped, and thrice more likely to be crushed by workers than are kids in juvenile confinements. (Amnesty, 1998)
America's juvenile justice system is there to keep its nationals safe and guiding delinquent youth on the right track. Fulfilling these two major responsibilities has put the policymakers and public in general, in a tight spot; as in which of the two aims should receive the most weightage, and thus, funding. (Juvenile Justice)
In a stark contrast to the bas...
(Mears 2006).
The 1990s saw legislatures across the country enact laws under which an increasing number of delinquents could be tried in criminal courts and sent to prison. In almost every state of the US, youths aged 13 or 14 (or less) can be prosecuted and punished as adults for a broad range of offenses, even including nonviolent crimes. Even within the juvenile system, punishments have grown progressively crueler. Amnesty's findings say that there are 200,000 children per year are prosecuted in general criminal courts, and approximately 7,000 of those children locked up in jails before trial. Over 11,000 delinquents are presently being imprisoned in adult correctional facilities (Amnesty International 1998).
State Level Variation
Though an exponential increase in juvenile incarcerations, little thought has been given to the inter-state variations. According to Mears in his Prison Journal (2006) these are four possible reasons: First, expenditure in juvenile incarceration would be greater where symbolic intimidations to social order are pretty high. Second, it would be more in those states where crime rate, especially juvenile violent crime, is high. Third, juvenile incarceration would imitate those deemed appropriate for adult offenders; so the states with higher adult incarceration rates may incarcerate more juveniles. Finally, if the juvenile incarcerations are culturally accepted then it would lead to higher rates of juvenile incarceration.
Public Opinion Matters
This trend can be attributed to the public concern about the threat of youth after highly publicized crimes such as school shootings etc. But the fact is that the assorted opinion surveys which have ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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