Exploration of the Juvenile Delinquency

This paper explores juvenile delinquency by assessing the similarities and differences in the criminal justice system and as the paper illustrates, as long as there are laws made, Bowlby (2005) in his work highlights that they will be broken hence a legal system to correct. In addition, in the book by Harr and Hess (2007), he illustrates that there are young and adult classifications of offenders and respective justice systems are established to manage crime at both levels of society. Although the juvenile and the adult justice systems are separate, Cole and Smith (2007) in their work illustrate that the two have fundamental similarities. This paper presents the juvenile justice system as compromising juvenile interests while the adult justice system is tough on offenders. Therefore young offenders, as indicated in the book by Siegel and Welsh (2010), are privileged to rehabilitation while adult criminals are punished. With the subject of juvenile delinquency is highly debatable, it is bound to change with changing demands of society despite currently being perceived as adequate. The juvenile criminal system seeks to rehabilitate where else the adult criminal system is designed to punish offenders, but both aim at combating crime.

As long as there are laws made to manage character in society, Bowlby (2005) indicates in his book that they will always be broken at one point or another. With regard to the two categories of age characterization in the justice system, juvenile and adult courts exist in the judicial system as guided by human rights policies. For instance, in the United States of America, the two judicial systems have the main objective of reducing crime, but on the other hand, they differ significantly. In their work, Siegel and Welsh (2010) indicate that the juvenile justice system accommodates individuals below eighteen years found guilty of committing minor crimes and will appear in either the district or the circuit systems as guided by existing law. The book further illustrates that irrespective of juvenile courts sessions perceiving offenses as not criminal, the juvenile system advocates compromise child interests. With the authenticity of the justice system highly debatable, they however have their similarities and differences. The juvenile criminal system seeks to rehabilitate where else the adult criminal system is designed to punish offenders, but both aim at combating crime.

In their book, Cole and Smith (2007) illustrate that in trials the adult offenders (criminals) face facts that guide the status of their offenses while for juvenile offenders psychological and legal factors guide the trials. In addition, considering that all criminal offenders are constitutionally entitled to jury proceedings it might not be the case for juvenile offenders who can be enjoy compromised decisions. On the other hand, verdicts and convictions are either guilty or not guilty as stated in the law. With respect to this, a young offender will be guilty of a minor or major crime. In addition, verdicts dictate the accused goes for either conviction or rehabilitation. Juvenile offenders have an opportunity to go to a correctional facility as dictated by the criminality of the offense committed as well as past criminal records. If in any case, the verdict declares the offense serious or on the other hand criminal records indicate questionable trends, the young offender goes to jail to ensure their safety and that of the society. Nevertheless, Bowlby (2005) in his book illustrates that the juveniles remain separate from the adult criminals in court and in jail unless considered otherwise. In the event that a young offender is considered for rehabilitation as stated in the juvenile court system guidelines hat the systems aims at correcting young offenders, they have a chance of rehabilitating although in some instances the criminal systems compromise rehabilitation when compared to detaining.

As Siegel and Welsh (2010) explain in their book, the similarities between the juvenile and the adult criminal systems, in both systems individuals appearing before the courts/juries are criminals but have their fundamental rights. In addition, in the courts/jury, the accused make earnest appeals before a judge and they have the right to defense. Moreover, they have the right against self-incrimination, the right to notice about the charges and the prosecuting desk has to present solid evidence before a court/jury before cases conclude. In both systems, offenders have the right to talk to their lawyer as fast as possible since the criminal system is sophisticated and can have dire consequences hence they need to have a qualified attorney. In addition, when the accused individuals are guilty, they have the right to fair trials and appeals that do not violate their human rights. Moreover, the similarities between the two criminal systems regard that the law enforcers (police and courts), as well as the rehabilitation centers, have the right to a relative conclusion in the two systems.

On the differences, Harr and Hess (2007) indicate in their study that the juveniles are perceived as mistaken in thought or action and thus, entitled to rehabilitation. For instance, trials for young offenders are not for committing offenses but because of minor crimes. In the event that the offense in question is serious, they are thus crimes qualifying an adult prosecution. For the adults, they are simply criminals. In addition, the juvenile court proceedings take place in closed doors where else the adult court sessions proceed in open courts. According to the book by Siegel and Welsh (2010), if a young offender is guilty of a crime, the trial proceedings will constitute a judge to examine the evidence. In the juvenile proceedings, the young offenders are entitled to appointed advocates to protect the juvenile rights. On the other hand, with the main objective of the adult system being to punish, the juvenile systems seek to correct the young offenders. For the juvenile justice systems, records are confidential until a set age as guided by the jail terms. The juvenile justice system thus results in informal proceedings as compared to the adult system, which has a strong emphasis on evidence.

Despite all these, a considerable number of young offenders are however finding themselves before adult court systems because of the severity of offenses in question. In addition, whereas both the juvenile and the adult criminal systems are regarded the entire due process, the young offenders are compromised compared to adult offenders. This gives the juvenile offenders an opportunity to avoid adult trials.

With all the above said, the subject of the authenticity of the practices of the two justice systems are highly debatable with both proponents and critics presenting their views but on a personal level, I feel that the two systems are fair enough for now but time can improve the judicial system. In addition and with due regard to the above similarities and differences, I feel that the similarities and differences as much as they might currently be adequate with respect to existing law, going forward, they may fail.

The above is because as time passes by, new challenges in the systems will arise requiring amendments to accommodate the change in the justice systems while on the other hand, there is a pressing social need that justifies the separate justice systems because according to the book by Bowlby (2005), as long as there are compromises and advocates for the young offenders, there will always be the fight to protect these young offenders hence separate justice systems.

In conclusion, the juvenile criminal system seeks to rehabilitate where else the adult criminal system is designed to punish offenders despite both seeking to combat crime and as long as there are laws made to manage character in the society, they will always be broken. With juvenile delinquency highly debatable, similarities and differences exist between juvenile and adult justice systems. With juveniles tries guided by psychological and legal factors, adult criminals face the criminal facts. In addition, juveniles remain separate from the adult criminals in court and in jail unless decided otherwise by jury while differently in the two systems, offenders appear before judge/jury as they are entitled to them by law. Because of their age, young offenders are not tried for committing offenses but for minor crimes where else adults are simply criminals presenting a disparity in proceedings that renders juvenile systems informal when compared to adult trials. With regard to the above, on a personal level, I feel that the two systems are fair enough only time can make them better. In addition, there is a pressing social need to combat crime and ensure safety to the society, which justifies the two separate justice systems. Moreover, as long as there are compromises and advocates for the young offenders, they will push for a separate criminal justice system.


Bowlby, B. (2005). The making and breaking of affection bonds. Oxford, UK: Taylor & Francis.

Cole, G. F., & Smith, C. E. (2007). Criminal justice in America (5th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Harr, J. S., & Hess, K. M. (2007). Constitutional law and the criminal justice system (4thed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Siegel, L. J., & Welsh, B. C. (2010). Juvenile Delinquency: The core. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

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