The American juvenile justice system has been in place for years, but it is becoming critical in helping young offenders in the country. The system has helped in transforming the lives of many youths who were almost losing focus on their future. It has helped instill discipline and respect for the law among youths who were almost giving up. In this study, the researcher will investigate the increasing importance of the system and what stakeholders can do to improve the services it offers. The study will use both primary and secondary sources of data to respond to the research questions. Mixed methods will be used when analyzing primary data.
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Juvenile justice is increasingly becoming important in the United States as society struggles to offer guidance to young offenders. According to Morris (2015), minors may engage in criminal acts or other unlawful activities that force law enforcement officers to arrest them and arraign them in court. Most of them are pushed into such acts by peer pressure. The desire to be accepted by peers may make a child do things that it would not have done under proper guidance. It is the reason why juvenile justice has become increasingly important in society. Once these minors are presented in court, they must be made to understand their crime. The system must make them understand that every action and decision they make has consequences. However, it must be done in a way that will not completely ruin their future. The system must be firm enough to make them understand that laws must be obeyed, while at the same time it should be lenient to offer them the opportunity to become better citizens in the country. The state governments within the country are taking juvenile justice seriously by employing more people to help transform young offenders into useful members of the society who pose no threat to anyone. In this paper, the researcher seeks to investigate the relevance of juvenile justice within the justice system in the country.
The United States is spending a lot of resources on juvenile justice within the country. It means that this is a very important area within the country’s justice system. The purpose of this study is to clearly outline and discuss the importance of juvenile justice in modern American society. The paper will look at how juvenile justice helps in transforming young offenders into better members of the society who can actively engage in various socio-economic and political activities. It will look at how stakeholders can work very closely to ensure that young offenders are helped to avoid bad companies and to desist from untoward behavior. The research should offer informed recommendations on areas within the juvenile justice that need improvement to further protect the younger generation in the country.
The youth in the United States have a critical role to play in society today and in the future. It is the responsibility of the government and other stakeholders to ensure that they develop into responsible law-abiding citizens. According to Siegel (2017), it is the responsibility of the parents and teachers to nurture children to become successful people in society. However, in the current American society where both parents are forced to work as a way of offering a better life for the family, most of the time they spend very little time with their children. It becomes worse for single parents (Cox, Allen, & Hanser, 2013). They have to provide for the family while at the same time guide them to become responsible citizens of the country. The task can be overwhelming. That is why some of the children deviate from accepted social norms. They turn to social media and peers to learn more about life. They easily get misled into practices they did not intend to do. Such problems are also common among orphans. The absence of parents means that such children have to turn to the world to learn about life.
The juvenile justice system, though considered reactionary by some critics, seeks to help young offenders to redefine the purpose of their life in the society. According to Shoemaker (2013), there are cases where minors react based on their past experienced and end up committing major crimes without having the intent. Such cases are common among children with abusive parents or guardians. A good example was a murder that was committed by two young girls aged 14 and 19 years in Louisville in Kentucky on August 16, 2016. The two girls were given a ride by a 53-year-old man. An argument arose when the man tried asked them to help him pick a drug. One of the girls picked a gun a fired four shots at the man. When the man tried to escape, the other girl picked the gun and fired at him point-blank, killing him on the spot. When the two girls were grilled, the 14-year old girl confessed to the murder. A background check revealed that she had very abusive guardians. The other girl was once raped and she never reported the matter to the authorities, fearing the possible repercussions (Siegel, 2017). That explains why they were so explosive when reacting to the angry man.
In such cases, a child may commit very serious crimes not because they had the intention to but because they are reacting to things that are frustrating their lives (Tanenhaus & Zimring, 2014). The justice system appreciates that such children can be rehabilitated. Through therapy and proper care, they can be helped to overcome the pain that lies deep in their hearts. That is why the justice system came up with juvenile justice to help such children have a different view towards a life away from their abusive families. It has helped many children to become better members of society. Siegel (2017) says that more still needs to be done to help the institution to become more efficient in helping minors. The report also shows that the number of minors who find themselves in repeat offenses after successfully going through the system is significantly reducing. It means that the system is working well in transforming young offenders. Most of them leave these institutions having gained skills that they can use to support themselves in the society. Those who came from abusive homes have been helped to find alternative homes where they can have peace of mind and focus on developing a better future for themselves (Shoemaker, 2013). The fact that most of these young offenders do not find themselves back in courts for similar or related offenses is a clear demonstration that the system is working. The facilities and human resources may be overstretched, but the outcome is satisfactory.
Research Questions and Hypothesis
When planning to conduct research, Dowd (2015) says that it is important to come up with research questions and hypotheses. The research questions define the kind of data that the researcher will be looking for in the field. The hypothesis shows what the researcher thinks about the possible outcome of the study. The following are the primary research questions that will be used in this study.
How relevant is the juvenile justice system in helping young offenders to transform into responsible members of the society?
What are the main challenges that the juvenile justice system faces in the United States?
What can be done to address these challenges to enhance its efficiency in helping young offenders?
The following is the hypothesis proposed based on the first question above.
H1. The juvenile justice system is very important in helping young offenders to transform into responsible members of society.
The researcher will use both primary and secondary sources of data to confirm the above hypothesis.
Coming up with an effective research method defines how successful a research project would be (Siegel & Welsh, 2012). The methodology section explains how desired data will be collected, the analysis of the collected data, and the presentation of the findings. In this research project, the researcher will use both primary and secondary sources of data. Secondary data will be obtained from published sources such as books, journal articles, and reliable online sources. Primary data will be collected from a sample of the population.
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Time and resource constraints cannot allow the researcher to collect data on the entire population of the stakeholders within the American juvenile justice system. As such, it will be necessary to sample a small manageable number of participants from the entire population. It will be important to talk to the judges, prosecutors, attorneys, counselors, children who are currently going through the system, and their parents or guardians. As such, stratified sampling will be necessary to ensure that information is collected from these different groups. From each category, the researcher will sample five participants, which means that the study will have 30 participants.
Data will be collected from the respondents through face-to-face interviews. The researcher will schedule meetings with individual respondents within the region and conduct the interview. Data will be collected using both structured and unstructured questions, as discussed in the sections below. The researcher considered face-to-face interviews to be very appropriate in gathering the needed data.
The researcher will use a questionnaire as the primary tool for collecting data from the respondents. The questionnaire will be developed early enough in readiness for the process. The questionnaire will be designed in a way that will make it possible to capture the demographic of the respondents. Any form of bias from the respondents will be captured within the demographic space. The questionnaire will be physically administered by the researcher in an interview.
Measuring and Analyzing Results
Data analysis will be conducted both qualitatively and quantitatively. The structured questions will help in collecting data that will be analyzed quantitatively. The unstructured questions will help in collecting data that will be analyzed qualitatively. Using the two methods of data analysis will enable the researcher to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the issue. In the analysis, the researcher will seek to bring out the significance of the juvenile justice system in transforming the lives of young offenders positively.
Presentation of the Results
After collecting data from the respondents and analyzing it using both qualitative and quantitative methods, it will be important to present the results in an easily comprehendible way. Dowd (2015) says that the presentation of results is critical in ensuring that readers can easily understand the message being communicated in a report. The results obtained from the quantitative analysis will be presented using graphs, figures, and charts for clarity. The graphical presentation of data is useful in simplifying the statistical findings of the study.
The American juvenile justice system is increasingly becoming important in the modern society where parents have very limited time to care for their children because of their need to achieve career success. It means that children are forced to turn to social media and peers whenever they want to find ways of addressing social issues in their lives. Some of them get misled in social media or by their peers and end up engaging in acts that are against the law. Such minors should not be condemned and thrown to jail to serve their sentence. Instead, they should be helped, whether in jail or on parole, to understand the mistake they did and the need to reform and become better members of the society. The system should determine why they acted in a given way and what can be done to help them change positively.
Cox, S. M., Allen, J. M., & Hanser, R. D. (2013). Juvenile justice: A guide to theory, policy, and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Dowd, N. E. (2015). A new juvenile justice system: Total reform for a broken system. New York, NY: New York University Press.
Morris, M. W. (2015). Pushout: The criminalization of Black girls in schools. New York, NY: The New Press.
Shoemaker, D. J. (2013). Juvenile delinquency. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Publishers.
Siegel, L. A. (2017). Juvenile delinquency: Theory, practice, and law. Hoboken, NJ: Wadsworth.
Siegel, L. J., & Welsh, B. (2012). Juvenile delinquency: Theory, practice, and law. Melbourne, Australia: Cengage Learning.
Tanenhaus, D. S., & Zimring, F. E. (2014). Choosing the future for American juvenile justice. New York, NY: New York University Press.