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Juvenile's Competance - Essay Example

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In the study entitled Juveniles' Competence to Stand Trial: A Comparison of Adolescents and Adults Capacities as Trial Defendants, Grisso, Steinberg, Woolard, Cauffman, Scott, Graham, Lexcen, Reppucci and Schwartz, adjudicative competence of various age groups were determined…
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Juveniles Competance
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In the study en d Juveniles' Competence to Stand Trial: A Comparison of Adolescents and Adults Capacities as Trial Defendants, Grisso, Steinberg,Woolard, Cauffman, Scott, Graham, Lexcen, Reppucci and Schwartz, adjudicative competence of various age groups were determined. The study was in response to the dilemma on whether youths charged with crimes have the developmental capacities needed to participate effectively in their trials.
The analysis made use of the quantitative method with sampling conducted to minimize geographical bias and maximize ethnic representations. Overall, the sample size consisted of 927 adolescents in juvenile detention facilities and community settings who were compared to 466 young adults in jails and in the community. There were four sites selected also using the criteria mentioned above.
Two evaluation methods, which have their own focus, were used in the study. To assess criminal defendant's abilities to participate in their defense, the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool-Criminal Adjudication (MacCAT12CA) was used. The instrument's items included Understanding, Reasoning and Appreciation where their answers are scored according to a set of criteria established by the authors of the instrument. Although the instrument has been successfully applied in determining the competency of adults to participate in their trial and is widely used by forensic mental health professionals, this was the first time it was used on youths. Since this is the case, we may very well speculate that the tool may produce flawed results.
The second method was the MacArthur Judgment Evaluation (MacJEN) used to examine the existence and degree of judgment immaturity especially the potential relation between immaturity and choices that defendants make in the course of adjudication. Due to the structure and objectivity of the questions and solicited responses, the tool allows not only the examination of differences in choices across ages but can also determine the relation between choices and psychosocial factors such as risk appraisal, future orientation, and resistance to peer influence.
Prior to the execution of the survey, all project directors and research assistants were made to undergo several days of training. Inter-rater reliability for the MacCAT-CA was assessed twice using all scorers (25 research assistants) at all four of the study sites. MacJEN was also executed with the utmost regard for the sample since they belonged to the vulnerable group.
All in all, the study was very scientific with the data processed and statistically analyzed with the proper method such as Manova. The preparation was meticulous and so were the gathering and processing of data.
Grisso, T., et al. (2003). "Juveniles' competence to stand trial: A comparison of
adolescents' and adults' capacities as trial defendants." Law and Human Behavior, 27 (4), 333. Read More
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