It is a well-known fact that only a fair penalty can achieve its goals, to ensure effective correction, private and general prevention. It is obvious that punishment must pass through the mind of the convicted person and must be perceived as retribution for his acts in criminal justice. Researchers stated that it is rather bad when too lenient punishment undermines the credibility of criminal justice and brings the sense of impunity to a convict, but it is necessary to remember that too harsh punishment undermines the authority of the government, causes a feeling of lawlessness condemned. Thus, any punishment should be fair, but also special for every group of people. It is very important to manage a juvenile corrections facility and an adult correctional facility differently. In such a way we are going to discuss these differences, dwelling on the juvenile corrections facility with more details.
First of all it is necessary to mention that an “enter” of the criminal justice system includes in itself an aim to identify the crime and the offender; while an “exit” is necessary for the purpose of to return the offender to the environment of honest citizens. Previous statement allows to say that the nature and degree of public danger of the crime and the identity of the perpetrator, including all circumstances, mitigating and aggravating, and the impact of the punishment for correction of the convicted person and the living conditions of his family are taking into account in infliction of punishment. Both an adult and a juvenile should answer for own criminal deeds, but correctional facilities should have different character. Analyzing differences in the above mentioned facilities Corriero (2006) stated that “the underlying rationales of the juvenile court system are that youth are developmentally different from adults and that their behavior is malleable. Rehabilitation and treatment, in addition to community protection, are considered to be primary and viable goals.”
Thinking about probation program in this context we can emphasize that first of all the juvenile probation program requires the young people to put their efforts on trying to correct themselves. However, we need to remember that we are talking here about very young people. Bilchik (1996) declared that they are not completely adults yet and they depend on their parent in many ways (for example, psychologically) whether they want to accept it or not. That is why we do not need to forget about the responsibility of parents. Juvenile probation officers expect that adults who are close to the young offenders (like guardian assistances and parents) would assist and encourage the young people to submit the sanctions of Probation.
Moreover, when a young person is placed on probation the person should have the court – ordered services and sanctions complete. The young people should accomplish all special conditions considered appropriate by the court and with those mandatory sanctions that are related to the offence, in addition to the common conditions of probation.
Myers (2005) noted that probation could be used at the front end of the juvenile justice system for low – risk offenders, first – time offenders; also it could be used at the back end like an alternative mean for more serious offenders instead institutional confinement. Sometimes the probation could be voluntary. In this case young people should agree to accomplish the period of non – formal probation instead of formal adjudication. Often, the juvenile that was once adjudicated and ordered formally to a term of the probation should submit to the conditions of the probation which were established by the court.
In addition, many states have recognized that within the system there must be a fundamental difference – between laws aimed at protecting children from abuse, disregard and neglect by parents, and laws aimed at combating juvenile delinquency. Observing contemporary situation and differences in criminal justice towards adults and young people we can mention that much of the debate in each state was devoted to the definition of the concept of ‘child’ and ‘juvenile’. For example, some time ago it was considered that a child is a person who is younger than seven years and he or she can not have criminal intent. Today the age that separates children from adults varies from one state to another and may even vary depending on the context within the same jurisdiction.
Thus, taking everything into consideration, we see that the history of the American system of juvenile justice, since its inception in the late 19th century to the present time, has experienced some transformations, which finished its complete circle. Initially, many states have created teen courts as a means of excluding children from participation in the legal system for adults, which was seen as harsh and disproportionate to the special needs of young people, and its replacement by a more humane, flexible and informal system based on civil rather than criminal law. This noble idea was successful in some degree, when it began to be implemented in practice for decades.
In conclusion, the juvenile justice system is at a crossroads because social and political consensus in support of the current system that has existed for centuries, falls apart. Thus, in the coming years we will witness a continuation of changes in the juvenile justice system in comparison to adult one.
Bilchik, S. (1996). Juvenile Probation: The Workhorse of the Juvenile Justice System. Workhorse Bulletin.
Corriero, M. (2006). Judging Children as Children: A Proposal for a Juvenile Justice System. Temple University Press.
Myers, D. (2005). Boys among Men: Trying and Sentencing Juveniles as Adults. Praeger.