Juvenile Delinquency: Is There A Solution?

1860 words - 8 pages

Juvenile delinquency is one of the major social issues in the United States today. Juvenile delinquency, also known as juvenile offending, is when “a violation of the law committed by a juvenile and not punishable by death or life imprisonment” (Merriam-webster.com). Although we have one justice system in America, the juvenile system differs from the adult juvenile system. Most juvenile delinquents range from as low as the age of seven to the age of seventeen. Once the delinquent or anyone turns the age of eighteen, they are considered an adult. Therefore, they are tried as an adult, in the justice system. There are many different reasons why a child would commit crime, such as mental and physical factors, home conditions, neighborhood environment and school conditions. In addition, there are a variety of effects that juvenile justice systems can either bad effects or good effects. Finally there are many different solutions that can reduce juvenile delinquency. As a result, juvenile delinquency is a major issue and the likeliness of it can be reduced. In order to reduce juvenile delinquency there has to be an understanding of the causes and the effects.
Although there are two different justice systems, juvenile and adult, it has not always been that way. Our founding fathers read the Commentaries on the Laws of England, by William Blackstone who was an English lawyer (americanbar.org). They also admired the commentaries; therefore they began to apply them to our country. For instance, in the commentaries William defined a criminal, capable of committing a crime, as someone who had an understanding and has intent of the committing the crime and the act of committing the crime. As a result, America would make those who understood the crime committed suffer the consequences for the crime.
In contrast, during the nineteenth century the juveniles were treated differently because society seen them differently than adults; caused new courts and institutions arise. From the moment juveniles were viewed differently they were no longer placed in institutions with adults. The first institution, New York House of Refuge, for juveniles was established in 1825(cjcj.com). This institution disciplined, reformed and trained the juvenile offenders. For example, they teach the youth to focus on education, and help the youth to avoid indolence by making them do military drills and physical exercise. The House of Refuge caused similar institutions to arise all over the United States. Due to the fact, juvenile delinquents differed from adult delinquents separate courts had to be established. The first juvenile court was established in Chicago, Illinois towards the end of the nineteenth century, in 1899. It was first authorized by the Illinois Juvenile Court Act of 1899.This act created the first separate juvenile court system for “neglected, dependent, or delinquent children under the age of sixteen” (“The Juvenile Court at 100Years: A Look Back”). The...

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