Juvenile offenders are often minors and or teens who are of theminority age and have been found guilty of various offences that arepunishable by law, but since they are minors, their punishment cannot often be like that of adults. As a result, special kinds ofpunishments and treatment are alternatively used to handle thesedelinquents’ cases if they are found guilty by a juvenile court.Until the 20th century, there was little differencebetween how the justice system treated adults and children (Bartollas& Miller, 2011). Age was considered in terms of appropriatepunishment, and juveniles were eligible for the same punishment asadults, including death sentence. Over the course of the years, theattitude toward children who committed crime started torevolutionize.
Punishment or Treatment
Juvenile offenders according to me should be punished or treateddepending on the extent of the offense they have done the child is arepeat offender. Juvenile courts have a wide range of sentencingoptions they can impose on delinquent juveniles or youth offenders,it often boils down to incarceration or non- incarceration (Bartollas & Millers, 2011). Incarceration is usually in form ofhome confinement under house arrest, placement with someone otherthan a parent or guardian. Non-incarceration options include verbalwarning, fine where the minor pays a fine to the government or paycompensation to victim, Counseling, Community service, Electronicmonitoring, they wear a wrist or ankle bracelet that verifies theirlocation at all times and finally enter a probation, where a minor’sfreedom is limited and activities restricted. For a delinquent who isa first time offender and committed a non-serious crime should beoffered non-incarceration punishment so that they can rectify theirbehaviors, while those that repeat offence and repeatedly commitmurder should be punished using the incarceration methods so thatthey don’t grow up to be even worse offenders in future.
Long-term confinement facilities for juvenile offenders andhistorical transition.
In the late 18th and 19th century, courtspunished and confined youths in jails and penitentiaries they wereoften locked with hardened criminals and the mentally ill in largeovercrowded institutions(Bartollas & Miller, 2011). Hence, therewas need for a separate confinement for them to offer training reformand industrial schools and hence the introduction of these juvenileconfinement facilities. Juvenile hall/juvenile detention centre,which are confinement centers for minors for a short period so thatthey are able to be taught some lesson and offered counselingservices. Secondly, Probation after juvenile hall where a delinquentis appointed a probation officer who will regulate his movement afterdetention to make sure that the minor is behaving accordingly to thelaw. Thirdly, secured juvenile facilities, designed for longer staysusually months or even years. Adult jail, where minor is sent to acounty jail or state prison to serve his sentence with adults.Lastly, Juvenile and adult jail where a delinquent is taken to ajuvenile facility and then transferred to an adult facility once thejuvenile reaches the majority age, usually referred to as a blendedsentence. (Bartollas & Miller, 2011). Transferred youths arepresumed to be adults for criminal court processing, meaning theyshould be treated similar to adults.
Troubling aspect of juvenile institutionalization
Institutionalizing is a painful process for most youthful offendersand whether they were for correction or rehabilitation the majorissue usually comes up when one is released from these institutionsdue to the following troubling aspects of the exercise (Bartollas &Miller, 2011). Firstly, Juvenile victimization where an individualoffender will always be regarded and feared by his society and evenjudged, even though he goes through reforms to change his behaviorthe society is always so hostile to the offender. Secondly, genderinequality where the females are often let out easy as they are notconsidered as being able to commit serious crimes and also that theyusually rehabilitate fast and are let out fast, also not so manyfemales are institutionalized so that their facilities are almostempty as compared to their male counterparts. Lastly, misappropriateminority contact, which provides efforts to reduce the number ofminority youth unreasonably apprehended or restricted in securedetention lockups in relation to their representation in the generalpopulation. They reduce disproportionalinity in other areas toinclude school suspension, child maltreatment and substance abuse.“If proportion of given minority group of youths detained orconfined in a state’s secure detention facilities, securecorrectional facilities, jails and lock ups exceeded the proportionof that group represented in the general population, the state was todevelop and implement plans to reduce the disappropriaterepresentation” (Ballard & Miller, 2011). However, its realizedthat majority of the confined youths are usually brown or black, withwhite ones usually let off easily if at all they are sentenced,because of the notion that the blacks and brown people are the mostsusceptible to committing crimes.
Bartollas, C., & Miller, S.J. (2011). Juvenile justice in America(sixth edition.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.