Table of Contents
Societies have grown tremendously especially in the age of information. This has led to the rise of criminal activities all over the world. Governments are faced with the duty to convict the guilty people for their criminal activities. They have instituted various regulations, which are supported by relevant institutions, to maintain social control. The criminal justice system is responsible for ensuring people do not engage in crimes. If they do, they will be penalized and jailed for possible rehabilitation. Additionally, justice system should ensure fairness of the legal process.
Presented Issues and Answers
This memorandum addresses whether juvenile sex-offenders should be treated as adults in the criminal justice system. Additionally, its aim is to clarify whether they should be tried in adult courts, committed to adult prisons and required to register under the state's Megan's Law. I believe that juvenile sex offenders should not be treated as adults in the justice criminal system. They should not be trialed in adult criminal courts and committed to adult jails. Additionally, they should not be required to register under the state's Megan's Law.
Statement of Facts
Research shows that juvenile sex offenders are less likely to engage in the same crimes than adults. It further indicates that these offenders usually stop violating the law after successful counseling and rehabilitation. Incidentally, many of these crimes are usually first-time offenses. The juvenile offenders are more flexible in acquiring fruitful lessons than adult offenders. This fact is evident, taking into consideration, the success of juvenile offenders’ rehabilitation. Juvenile offenders are less likely to commit a crime after rehabilitation. In adult prisons, juvenile sexual offenders are more likely to be beaten, commit suicide, and also attacked with a weapon. Juvenile rehabilitation programs and systems are more effective. They help to save costs compared to being in prison, as well as reducing chances of repeat offenses. Conviction through the justice system also criminalizes adolescent behavior instead of guidance and instruction to correct behavior (Campaign par 2-4).
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Pros and Cons: Trial of Juvenile Sex-Offenders as Adults and Incarceration in Adult Jails
Treating juvenile sex offenders as adults will imply various changes to the criminal justice system. They will be tried in established adult courts. Juvenile courts dealing with sex issues will be scrapped, and the offenders will be committed in adult prisons. This will involve a lot of bureaucracy and a huge waste of state resources. Many people acknowledge that sexual offences are abhorrent, but dealing with juvenile delinquents brings out a certain difficulty.
These offenders cannot be tried in adult courts, taking into consideration the peculiarities of their physiological development. They are not fully-developed to make well-informed decisions and appreciate consequences tied to various actions. The standards of accountability as required by law would not be applicable to them in adult courts (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. par 2).
The juvenile offenders may not comprehend all consequences of committing crimes. This is, therefore, not applicable in adult courts as the prosecution should prove that offenders had motives for their offences and prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. If a juvenile offender is convicted in adult courts, he will be released in six years. The negative point is that they are more likely to come out hardened criminals, while juvenile systems will rehabilitate them into good citizens.
Additionally, juvenile offenders are more likely to be sexually abused in adult prisons. It becomes a reason of increasing the cases of committing suicide. Ultimately, this will not address the problem but further compound it. It is also easier to change young children than adults, due to their developmental stage. A wide range of useful methods of rehabilitation and learning are not applicable to adults (Collins par.5-14). The best is to provide learning and rehabilitation by changing the social environment by means of other favorable and lenient methods. This is more effective as it will promote changes in juveniles’ behavior and their attitude to the surroundings. This supports the idea that juvenile courts will apply the appropriate measures to analyze the circumstances of juvenile offenses and find the best way to convict guilty people in accordance with law.
Many affected parents and proponents, whose children have been sexually abused by minor offenders, state that the job of the juvenile courts is not well-done to convict criminals. They assert that juvenile courts shield offenders from taking responsibilities of their action by taking them to group homes for rehabilitation. They claim to condemn young offenders by the adult courts that sentence to more stern penalties. They also proclaim that juvenile courts do not help to deter juvenile violence, which should be the primary concern for those institutions. The proponents believe that offenders should be punished so as to ensure others do not get tempted to commit crimes (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. par.3). What they do not factor in their arguments is the basic fact of the children’s growth and development, which may influence their negative behaviors.
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Adult Criminal Courts
Adult criminal courts organize the legal process of convicting juvenile offenders in accordance with law and the guaranteed constitutional rights. Besides, they can have a right to apply to an unbiased jury, who might be sympathetic to them. Some courts may award a light sentence to juvenile offenders, due to the rise of more offenders (Michon Par.12).
In adult courts, juvenile offendersare subjected to severe punishments such as life imprisonment without parole among others. The efforts of rehabilitation and alternative treatment, available measures may be unsuitable for young offenders. Additionally, they have fewer options for constructive rehabilitation as the primary sentences in adult courts are prison time and the associated difficulties of that system. Being convicted in adult courts as a juvenile offender leads one to be labeled as a hardcore criminal. Society also frustrates one’s efforts at being integrated successfully back to society. Social stigma is bound to affect young offenders as they are not fully developed emotionally to deal with such issues. This would lead to more problems than effective solutions as the offenders may react extremely, ranging from engaging in more serious crimes to suicide (Michon Par 13).
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Considering the arguments, I do not support the idea that juvenile offenders should be tried in juvenile courts as juvenile offenders. It should be a subject to incarceration, not in adult jails but juvenile camps and detention centers. This way, they will spend more time being counseled, which is more effective and have better overall results. The peculiarities of growth and development ensure that their knowledge of right and wrong, as well as intellectual maturity and emotional stability are limited. Juvenile courts and associated systems will also focus on rehabilitating juvenile offenders.
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