The Juvenile Justice System — страница 2

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friends’ mother. According to police the boy was infatuated about her, and before killing her, he beat her and then stabbed her seventy-two times. Violent juvenile crime is increasing at twice the rate of violent crimes made by adults. By the year 2,005, the number of teenagers between ages’ fourteen and seventeen will grow by twenty-three percent. How can this epidemic of violence among our young people be controlled? First and foremost is education, in elementary school, in middle school, in high school, and most important, education at home. Learning the difference between right and wrong begins at birth. Early childhood is the most crucial time for this learning to take place. Parents must be held responsible for teaching their children what is right and what is wrong. If

parents refuse to except their roles as teachers, then the government will be forced to step in. Education is most important because its goal is prevention rather than rehabilitation. First time offenders, in both adult and juvenile systems are very rarely punished, unless they are charged with a very serious crime. Children must learn that they are accountable for their actions. We are wrong when we do not teach them that their actions do have significant consequences. A young child who runs across a busy city street will most certainly face immediate punishment at the hands of his mother. The same should go for the juvenile offender the first time he breaks the law. After all, how will the offender learn that he or she will be accountable for their actions. With almost everyone

agreeing that the juvenile justice system is a failure, some alternative punishments should be considered. In East Boston District Court, Judge Domenic Russo sets a strict curfew on all juvenile first time offenders. The curfew is determined by the age of the juvenile. It is one-half of their age, so a sixteen year old, such as myself would have to be in at home at eight in the evening. Some judges and elected officials are now sending juvenile offenders too military like boot camps. The boot camps are very similar to Marine Corps basic training, where there is strict discipline. Boot camp can last for several months, at the end of which the juvenile either succeeds and graduates or fails and returns to the system. Another new form of punishment is not new at all. Corporal

punishment has been used for thousands of years. Presently it is illegal in the United States. However, the recent event in Singapore, where a teenager from the United States was caught spray-painting a car and was sentenced to be caned (whipped) changed the way many viewed the laws of the United States. Had he been caught spray-painting cars in his hometown of Dayton, his crime would have been regarded as commonplace and his neighbors opinion would not have mattered (Rush 3). Where Singapore is relatively crime free, in the United States there is an epidemic of crime. To some people, corporal punishment should be brought back. What about the most vicious crime that society has to deal with, murder? Remember Craig Price? If Craig Price had been two and a half weeks older, and if

he had murdered the Heaton Family in Oklahoma — or in one of the several other states which authorize the imposition of Capital punishment of sixteen-year-olds– he almost certainly would have been sentenced to death for his crimes (Dershowitz 2). Should all juveniles convicted of murder be put to death? Probably not, but, certainly those teenagers guilty of the most violent and vicious killings should at least be tried as adults and sent to prison. Everyone agrees that the juvenile justice system needs to be improved. The question is how can this be accomplished. Is the present system in such bad shape that we should abandon it all together, or should we keep it and simply make small changes to make a better system? I believe that the whole system in the United States should

be changed completely. We need new ideas in order to derive new solutions. However, everyone must become involved: kids, parents, politicians, and judges. All must do their part if we are to save our future generations. Work Cited Lacayo Richard. SUPERPREDATORS ARRIVE. New York: Newsweek, 1996. 57. Bernard, Thomas. The Cycle of Juvenile Justice. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. 1- 10, 56. Dershowitz, Alan. The Abuse Excuse. New York:Time Warner Electronic Publishing, 1995. 1- 2 Eldefonso, Edward. Youth Problems and Law Enforcement. New Jesey: Prentice-Hall, INC., 1972. 2-8, 45-50. Hyde, Margaret. Juvenile Justice and Injustice. New York: Franklin Watts, 1977. 1-6, 22-30. Reilly, Tom. Youth crime has changed- and so must the juvenile justice system. Boston: Boston Globe,