Juvenile Justice System Essay

When we start to discuss juvenile delinquency and juvenile crimes it can sometimes become complicated because of age limitations that come within the bounds of the law. Each state has their own interpretation of what is considered a juvenile in the juvenile justice system. Juveniles in the State of Louisiana are defined as anyone who is older than age 10 and younger than age 17, where a 17-year-old is classified in the eyes of the state as an adult. In the State of Louisiana a 10-year-old juvenile may be charged for any crime that he or she may commit.

In the juvenile justice system there are six categories in which are still used in today’s judicial system jurisdictions to describe the variety of children are subject to juvenile court jurisdiction (Schmalleger, 2011). Delinquency, which is an undesirable behavior or delinquent children, is those children who have violated the law. Where this is different is if these were adults this would be considered criminal (Schmalleger, 2011). Undisciplined children are children beyond parental control, as there demonstration by refusing to obey there parents, legal guardians, teachers, or school officials (Schmalleger, 2011).

Dependent children are children who have no parents or guardians (Schmalleger, 2011). Neglected children are children who are neglected or do not receive the proper care from their parents are guardians (Schmalleger, 2011). Abused children are physically abused by their parents are guardians whether it be emotionally or sexually (Schmalleger, 2011). Status offenders are offenders that embrace children who violate specific laws written for only them (Schmalleger, 2011).

These categories are specific to the juvenile justice system along with those of status offenses. According to Schmalleger, (2011) status offenses include behavior such as truancy, vagrancy, running away from home, and incorrigibility. The youthful status of juveniles is a necessary element in such offenses. ” Adults are not considered to be in this specific category because an adult may run away from home and not violate any laws by doing so (Schmalleger, 2011). Juveniles and adults have some similarities but are completely different within the justice system.

Juvenile courts and adult courts are comparable in that they turn on due process, which are specified by the Bill of Rights, and they make the comparison that adult due process should serve as the model for juvenile proceedings (Schmalleger, 2011). The due process proceedings guarantee that it will be fair and for the best interest of that juvenile. However, the court’s interpretations of these proceedings do not guarantee some of the same protections as that of adults (Schmalleger, 2011). Although these are some similarities, juvenile courts bring with it other differences from that of adult court system (Schmalleger, 2011).

Among these differences are a lackluster concern for guilt or innocence but a more stringent emphasis on the child’s best interests, a priority on treatment rather than punishment, have a privacy and protection from public records (as in the juveniles record is sealed), the use of different techniques in the decision- making rather than sentences determined for the need of punishment, no relatively long-term confinements (most juveniles will be released by their twenty-first birthday), have separate facilities for juveniles, and have extremely broad discretion at all points in the process (Schmalleger, 2011).

Although juveniles have comparisons with that of adult crimes, juveniles statistically commit crimes are still relatively high. According to, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in 2010 shows that juveniles accounted for 12% of the violent crime index and 14% of property crime index. The violent crime index includes the offenses of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

The property crime index includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Running away from home and curfew and loitering violations are not presented in this figure because by definition, only juveniles can be arrested for these offenses (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2012). With juvenile crime rates as they are the effects of more juveniles being tried as adults is on the rise. According to PBS (1995-2013), “two assumptions are behind recent legislation passed in many U.

S. states which make it easier to try juvenile offenders as adults. One, young offenders will receive sentences in the adult criminal system which are harsher and more proportional to their crimes and two, the threat of this harsher punishment will result in lowered juvenile crime rates. ” While juveniles are being trialed as adults, there has not been extensive research into the deterrent effects of these stricter laws and possible punishments that are being received through adult criminal court.

The evidence exist indicates that deterrent effects are minimal or nonexistent, and that, in fact, trying juveniles in criminal court may actually result in when the juveniles are being released for them to be reoffending (PBS, 1995-2013). Although these statistics are not confirmed by an extensive research process, it shows that by placing juveniles in adult court may do more harm then good for our society. Issues still arise while the juvenile crime is still being committed.

According to, National Conference of State Legislatures (2013), “preventing and addressing juvenile crime and delinquency remain perennial issues in state legislatures today. ” Our young youth are following along with the way society is being affected. While society is trying to gather funds for each and every one of us to survive, our young youth are committing crimes that they either see someone else committing and getting away with or are attempting to help out the parents by trying the illegal way rather than the right way.

Ways that we as society can help prevent this in my opinion are to allow our youth to play games on playgrounds. Make the playground and outdoors the primary means of playing but keeping the adult supervision within these parks so that the older teenagers and younger adults keep the negative crime talk aspect out of their time on the playground. We as the society have to control the youths as the parents not as the concerned citizen.

In conclusion, the juvenile justice system, although complex and confusing at times, needs improvements year in and year out to change along with society and the current trends of crime. It was discussed how juveniles are committing 12% in violent crime index in 2010 and 14% property crime index, which, may not sound like a lot but in reality is way to much for our youth to be committing in these types of crimes and being placed into a system in which may turn them into repeat offenders when all said and done.


National Conference of State Legislatures. (2013). Juvenile Justice. Retrieved from http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research.aspx?tabs=951,62,98 Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. (2012). Law Enforcement and Juvenile Crime. Retrieved from http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/qa05102.asp PBS. (1995-2013). Juvenile Justice. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/juvenile/stats/kidslikeadults.html Schmalleger, F. (2011). Criminal Justice Today. An Introductory Text for the 21st Century (11th ed.). Retrieved from https://ecampus.phoenix.edu/content/eBookLibrary2/content/eReader.aspx