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Essay on the Reasons why the Juvenile Justice System Should not be Abolished

0 September 26 2014, 15:51 in Juvenile Justice System Essays

Essay on the Reasons why the Juvenile Justice System Should not be Abolished

With the increasing number of crimes involving juveniles calls for abolition of the juvenile justice system and their prosecution under the adult courts are once again in the headlines. This means that juveniles will no longer be given the leniency they enjoy under the juvenile justice system which aims to reform them more than to punish them. On one hand, the punishment of the juveniles under the criminal justice system for adults may appear to be the only solution to spread fear among the juveniles and control juvenile crime. However, considering the emotional and intellectual immaturity of the juveniles abolishing the juvenile justice system and placing the juveniles under the criminal justice system is not the right solution to the problem of juvenile crime. This essay seeks to discuss the concept of criminal justice system and explain the reasons why placing juveniles under the criminal justice system will be more detrimental to the society.

The criminal justice system is a system established to combat criminality in a society. It has three primary components which are the police, courts and the corrections (Maguire and Radosh, 1996). Under this system, the primary function of the police is to prevent crime. The primary function of the courts is to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused and to sentence those who are found guilty. The primary function of the corrections is to put away the persons responsible for the crime. Though the criminal justice system also seeks to reform and rehabilitate the criminal offenders, its principal aim is to punish the criminal offender.

To place the juveniles under the criminal justice system goes against the basis for the creation of the juvenile justice system in the first place which is to protect reform the juveniles. Juveniles are presumed to be incapable of committing a crime. Because of their young age, it is presumed that if ever they commit a wrong it is because they do not know any better. Absent complete discretion, the law gives them the benefit of the doubt that the crime was not done with malice and evil intent. The juvenile justice system seeks to understand the juvenile’s condition and determine the factors that led to the juvenile committing a crime for the purpose of protecting the overall well-being of the juvenile offender.

It will not be beneficial for juveniles to be placed under the criminal justice system which seeks to punish the offenders rather than reform and rehabilitate them. There are many reasons for this. First, juveniles who commit crimes should not be in the company of hardened criminals. Juveniles who are placed behind bars together with criminals are more likely become worse than they were before they committed the crime. Because the juveniles are young and susceptible to being influence placing them together with adult offenders will only make them worse.

Second, the juvenile justice system understands that children are immature and have special needs (Junger-Tas, 2006). The juvenile justice system considers the juvenile as a victim who needs to be guided and to be taught that they have done something wrong. Because they are victims, the juvenile justice system provides the needed help and guidance of trained professionals who can talk to the juveniles to assess their situation and find out the best solution for the juvenile’s condition. This is not available in the criminal justice system. In fact, the criminal justice system is not even capable of handling the needs of the adult criminal offenders as it is no secret the prisons are saddled with problems such as overcrowding, proliferation of drugs and diseases and even the commission on rape.

Third, the criminal justice system is not right for juveniles because the criminal justice system involves public proceedings which may forever prevent the child from being reformed. In the criminal justice system, convicted offenders are forever labelled as convicts whose records are available publicly. Imposing the same procedure for juveniles will be detrimental for their rehabilitation and reformation because they will have a hard time getting jobs.

The juveniles belong to the juvenile justice system which is more capable of handling their special needs. In the juvenile justice system, the orientation is towards protecting the well-being of the juvenile. The proceedings are not only kept confidential but it is also made informal. The only goal is to ensure that the juvenile is protected.




Maguire, B. and Radosh, P. (1996). A Sociological Introduction to the American Criminal Justice System. Brendan Maguire and Polly F. Radosh. The Past, Present and Future of American Criminal Justice. California: Alta Mira Press,

Junger-Tas, J. (2006). Trends in International Juvenile Justice. Josine Junger-Tas and Scott Decker (ed). International Handbook of Juvenile Justice. New York: Springer.

Neubauer, D. and Fradella, H. (2010). America’s Courts and the Criminal Justice System. New York: Cengage Learning.

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