Questionson Juvenile Justice and Law Enforcement
Questionson Juvenile Justice and Law Enforcement
Question1:DeathPenalty and Juvenile Offenders
Oneof the issues that have overtime been controversial in the UnitedStates is the issue of DeathPenalty.As from 2005, the US banned the use of death penalty in all itsstatus after it deemed this unconstitutional and something that wasunfair to the offender. Although the decision was much divided, itwas agreed that using the death penalty was cruel and unusualpunishment under what was termed as the eighth amendment. This was inRoper vs., Simmons in which the Supreme Court was able to overturn anearlier decision that had allowed the execution of juveniles invarious states (James & Cecil, 2003). The result of this wasrendering all the laws that allowed the use of the death penaltyunconstitutional. Prior to this, there had been two court cases thathad determined the way states dealt with the death penalty issue injuvenile offenders. In Thompson vs. Oklahoma, it was ruled that thestate would execute anyone who was more than 15 years old. This agehad been raised to 16 by the Stanford vs. Kentucky in 1989 that hadallowed the execution of those juvenile offenders who were over theage of 16 years (Bartollas & Miller, 2011).
Inmy opinion, using death penalty on juvenile offenders is not a goodthing and the Supreme Court is right to make it unconstitutional. Itis good to believe that anyone below the age of 18 years is young andshould be guided. The other thing is that at this age, teenagers areusually not aware of the various ways to deal with stress. This meansthat without guidance, they may end up doing silly things, whichmeans that it would be unfair to judge them
Question2: RolePlayers in the Juvenile Justice System
Thereare various role players in a JuvenileCourt System,with each of them with different and defined role within the system.For effective achievement of the juvenile system, the different roleplayers are supposed to work as a team these role players includes:
Legislators. He/she is the main policy and law maker. He is entitled to making and amending of laws, governing juvenile justice
The Police. Their main role is to apprehend juvenile offenders. They can also issue a warning while at the same time citing and releasing. The police also implements arrests when it is suspected that a juvenile has done something wrong.
Prosecutors. They file charges against juvenile offenders. It is also their role to reduce, modify or drop charges.
Public defender or Defense Attorney. He/she is responsible with representing the juveniles in legal proceedings.
The Judge/the Courts. The judge and the court are an essential part in the system. These have the role of determining if the petition that if filed against the juvenile is true. They have the mandate of assigning the offender to probation, foster care, as well as, a group home. It is also their role to determine if a juvenile who is accused of a serious offence should be remanded to an adult court.
Probation Officers. Probation officers decide whether or not a juvenile offender should be booked into juvenile hall. In addition, they compile a social report or the social history of the offender.
Youth Offender Parole Board. They decide institutional designation, as well as, the earliest possible release dates. They also decide when the offenders are ready for parole and when parole should be violated.
Community based organizations that offer alternatives to detention and incarceration. They offer case management and intensive supervision as an alternative (Bartollas & Miller, 2011).
County Probation Departments. They oversee juvenile halls and camps in the country.
State youth correctional system agencies. They oversee the correctional facilities and supervise paroles especially for the youths who are between the age of 12 and 24 years. An example of this is the California Youth Authority.
Question3. SentencingStructures in the Juvenile Justice System
Thereare both incarcerating and non-incarcerating options in sentencing ofjuvenile offenders. When we talk of incarcerating options, the judgemay decide to have the juvenile on house arrest or the homeconfinement. This is where the judge can order the minor to remain athome. Placement with another person other than the parent or theguardian is the other option (McCordet al, 2001).This may include the requirement of the minor living in a fosterhome. The use of the juvenile hall or the juvenile detention facilityis the other option. Facilities are just meant for minors and areonly used for short term stays. The other option available is the useof probation after the juvenile hall. This is where the minors aretaken to the juvenile facility for a few months and then placed onprobation afterward. When it comes to non-incarcerating options, theyinclude the verbal warnings, fines, counseling and the use ofcommunity service (Bartollas & Miller, 2011).
Thejuvenile sentencing structure is one that is built on the idea thatthe offences should be graded with according to the weight that theyhold. The capital offences such as rape and murder are found on theupper side of the grading system. The minor offences are found on thelower side of the grading system. In most cases, the more serious theoffence is, the more the sentence that is directed to the offender.These standards vary from one state to another. This is not a problemsince the system has been operating and has been effective.
Bartollas,C., & Miller, S.J. (2011). Juvenile justice in America (6th Ed.).Upper Saddle
River,NJ: Prentice Hall.
James,A., & Cecil, J. (2003). Out of step: Juvenile death penalty inthe United
States. InternationalJournal of Children`s Rights,11(3), 291-303.
McCord,J., Widom, C. S., Crowell, N. A., & National Research Council(U.S.).
(2001).Juvenilecrime, juvenile justice.Washington, DC: National Academy Press.