Juvenile delinquency is a broad notion including a wide set of illegal actions by minor individuals. Admittedly, a violation of the law by an underage individual should be addressed promptly and adequately. In this regard, throughout the last century, the criminal justice system in Europe and North America has undergone significant changes. This essay will discuss how a case of a young person attempting to steal a bicycle would be handled at the beginning of the 20th century and now.
We will write a custom Essay on The State of American Juvenile Justice specifically for you
301 certified writers online
In the United Kingdom and the United States of America, before the early 1910s, young offenders were handled by the court with no regard to their age. However, at the turn of the centuries, the creation of the juvenile justice system started to pay regard to their level of maturity and mental capacity. The new system prioritized reformation over punishment; thus, given it was his or her first offense, the young person in question would receive a warning (Sobie, 2018). In the worst-case scenario, he or she would have to spend time in a juvenile rehabilitation institution.
Today, in the Northern hemisphere, the situation would unfold in a similar way. The young person would be taken to a police ward where he or she would be informed about the consequences in case they repeat an offense. The police would contact his or her parents so that the family could intervene. The family could be advised to visit a counselor so that the underlying causes of delinquent behavior could be established and tackled.
Thus, in both cases, the young offender would be given a chance to reconsider his or her life choices. Adopting the restorative approach to youth justice appears to be more reasonable than taking merely punitive measures. Punishing an underage person may treat the “symptoms,” whereas the motivation behind delinquent action remains unaddressed. Moreover, a punishment may give rise to the urge to protest against the system in a teenager, which may lead to repeated offenses.
Sobie, M. (2018). The state of American juvenile justice. Criminal Justice, 33(1), 26-29.