Long-term effects on juveniles who entered the criminal justice system are disastrous. First, juveniles trialed as adults often receive harsher sentences for a variety of reasons, which implies that young people become adults in prison. Thus, when released, they have no experience or model of living an adult life outside prison. This causes integration problems, including housing and unemployment issues (Harris et al., 2017). Second, incarceration exposes youth to disease, violence, and abuse, which implies that being processed through the system undermines juveniles’ physical and psychological well-being. Finally, incarceration can cause mental illnesses and the development of addictions, which decreases the chance of successful re-entry (Harris et al., 2017). Thus, even though some offenders need to be processed through the criminal justice system to protect society, it is associated with negative consequences for the offenders.
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Week 5 case study featured Adam, a juvenile offender who had a history of numerous offenses, including shoplifting, drug possession, illegal drug trade, substance misuse, and violent behavior. Adam was charged with critically wounding a rival drug dealer. I recommended that the boy should be trialed as an adult, as he could clearly understand the consequences of his actions. The effects of the decision will strike Adam fully after it is implemented. Adam will be given 10-15 years of prison, which implies that he will become an adult behind bars. His drug addiction is likely to become worse, which may lead to problems with mental health (Harris et al., 2017). Moreover, after being released from prison, he will face housing and unemployment problem (Harris et al., 2017). Thus, Adam’s case is an excellent example of how the criminal justice system affects juvenile offenders.
Harris, C., Ortenburger, M., Santiago, F., Tellez, A., Heller, J. (2017). Juvenile injustice: Charging youth as adults are ineffective, biased, and harmful. Human Impact Partners.