Minors In The Juvenile Justice System

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The decision to try a juvenile as an adult varies drastically across the globe as each country or state has its own set of laws and principles regarding the approach taken to juveniles in the court system that differ from those of other countries (Juvenile Vs Adult). In countries like India and France, there are sometimes entirely separate courts (France’s being called Juvenile Assize) and certain amendments that allow for those aged 16-18 who have committed “heinous” offenses to be tried as adults (Singhl). Places such as Iran and the Middle East try everyone as though they are the same, so minors can receive equal trials and sentences as adults (Mostafaei). Considering there is a range of policy and court differences, and for the purposes …show more content…

Juvenile courts were initially intended for the trial of minors for small crimes such as theft and trespassing, but within the last 30 years, violent juvenile crime has seen a major influx (Juvenile Arrest). According to Barry Feld, Juvenile justice systems can no longer handle the cases that are being brought to them because they surpass the sentencing of the juvenile system. Thus, his argument is that juvenile systems should be abolished because reforms within the system have allowed for more lenient sentencing and reconciliation of sentences. Doing away with juvenile courts would “assure greater procedural regularity in the determination of guilt” and eliminate the immense amount of subjectivity involved (Feld). Although this may assist in assigning guilt among juvenile offenders in more serious crimes, it may be slightly extreme to try minors in criminal court for petty offences. Feld addresses the apparent problem of subjectivity and trying minors in criminal court would help diminish that bias, yet he only considers the application of more serious crimes that would have mandatory sentences of five years or more, not both the serious crimes and the approach to smaller-scale crimes. Although he remains somewhat blind to part of the overall argument, the information provided is well researched and knowledgeable. Feld himself is also highly …show more content…

Advocates of this perspective agree that adult courts should be restricted to adults only and that children should not have the possibility of being tried in them, as there are juvenile courts for a reason. Despite this, 39 states in the U.S. require juveniles to be held in an adult jail before they are tried, many of which have not been convicted. A majority of these youth will have spent over a month in adult jail awaiting trial, while about 20% will have resided in an adult jail for over 6 months

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