Juvenile justice has always been a controversial question because some people consider that children should be tried for crimes the same way the adults are since the harm is usually the same and, sometimes, the consequences are even more dramatic. As for now, all the countries have special laws for punishing such offenses, and they are quite mild. By making the laws equal, the state will enable the sentencing children to the life incarceration or even execution. However, this is not wise, since usually, the age of these juvenile delinquents is between 10 and 18. Almost always these children have not even had a chance to act in another way because of the lack of the experience and because they never saw decent examples. These kids are usually from low-income families, whose parents are alcoholic, drug addicts or mentally ill people. The children observe the behavior of their parents and older siblings, and when they become teenagers, they start copying the behavior and acting in the same way. If their parents instead of working to improve the financial situation stole the needed things, the teenager would do the same. If they see the aggression and violence towards the female members of the family, they will bully the female peers as well. The tendency to become addicted to alcohol or drugs is also inherited and in the state of withdrawals the person can do awful things to get the dose. The moral background is also very influential. If the parents did not teach their child to differentiate between bad and good, the teenagers would not even know that they are committing the crime and will face the consequences afterward.
Some teens commit the crimes after they have experienced bullying at school or became victims of the rape. They are not psychologically stable and cannot react adequately to the pressure and can take revenge at their discretion. Some teenagers have problems with the hormone system that makes them aggressive and not controllable. Some mental illness as schizophrenia, for example, start to reveal itself at the puberty age. In this case, children are not even responsible for their actions. After being taken to prison, they often become even more aggressive. Such unfortunate experience of being in the damping environment for years cannot go away without leaving a trace. Children are also easily influenced. In case they happen to find themselves among the wicked people, they are most likely to behave in a similar way not to lose the respect. So, usually, the reasons come from the background of the children.
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The ones who are responsible for it, are the parents and teachers who did not notice the suspicious behavior signaling of the danger.
It is very unfair and terrible to punish the young people who have not even realized what they were doing. Moreover, such cases usually could have been prevented, if the parents were more attentive to the behavior and changes in their kids. The most important for the developing body and soul is the healthy environment in the family, trusting relationships, feeling that you are supported and always will be accepted the way you are and that you will always get a helping hand. This is all the vital things the busy modern world lacks.
So, instead of punishing the not grown up teenagers for committing the crimes, it is better to do everything possible to prevent them.
Several programs are already implemented but still have to be used more often to help to avoid antisocial habits among children or teenagers. Among them is a mentoring program that means creating a group or pairs of people. Some of them have more experience, power and have a positive influence on the others because they are older and successful (Campbell-Tolan 2008).
Another program is called school interventions. This program includes conducting the classes devoted to teaching how to resolve conflicts, eliminate aggression from the relationships by understanding your and your peer’s needs, helps socialize and control emotional, cognitive and social behaviors (“Treatment, Services, and Intervention Programs for Child Delinquents”).
The Afterschool Recreation programs are also attractive and very pleasant for the young people since they include visiting historical and cultural places, walking in the parks, playing games with the peers and having picnics on the open air. Such activities help teenagers become more open and friendly (“Afterschool Programs”).
The results of these programs are very impressive, and this confirms that a lot of problems could have been omitted if the proper actions were taken on time. Unlike the adults, who are usually mentally stable and realize what they are doing, the children are driven by emotions and family background they were exposed to. Thereby, this is not fair to try equally people who were brought up in the different environments.
1. Tolan P, Henry D, Schoeny M, Bass A. Mentoring interventions to affect juvenile delinquency and associated problems. Campbell Systematic Reviews. 2008:16. Web. 1 july. 2016.
2. Development Services Group, Inc. “Afterschool Programs” Literature Review. Washington, DC.: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. 2010.
3. Treatment, Services, and Intervention Programs for Child Delinquents. Child Delinquency Bulletin. 2003. Web. 01 July. 2016 <https://www.ncjrs.gov/html/ojjdp/193410/page4.html