This paper will explore and give a synopsis on the cycle of juvenile justice. The synopsis will include a look at the past 200 years of juvenile justice policies in the United States. According to the text, Bernard and Kurlychek believe the cycle is driven by several unchanging ideas that force us to repeat, rather than learn from, our history (Bernard, T., & Kurlychek, M.
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(2010).). Among these beliefs is also that, juvenile crime is at an all-time high and getting worse. They believe that the juvenile justice system itself is responsible for the high crime levels among juveniles. However, in this paper reform of the system will effectively address this problem. Furthermore, because of these issues among the cycle of the juvenile justice system, Bernard and Kurlychek believe that it is inevitable that any reform successfully enacted will help with juvenile crime, since it arises not from the juvenile justice system, but from deeper problems like, social conditions, inequalities and one’s environment. In addition, to help with juvenile crime, this paper will include three best practices for ending the cycle.
Keywords: punishment, juvenile, justice, cycle, crime, treatment
The past 200 years, juvenile justice has undergone a range of transformations. In the United States, about 100 years ago, a separate juvenile justice system was established for the youth. However, throughout most of history, the youth in society did not always enjoy a separate status. Once an individual reached age five or six, she or he became a member of society and was expected to follow the same guidelines as adults. This extended to the field of legal sanctions, where children were viewed as adults and were subject to the same regulations and rules. During this time, a separate system for dealing with youthful offenders did not exist. The laws that had been created made no difference based on age of the offender. The laws allowed for and prescribed harsh punishment towards the young people, which subsequently called for a process of nullification or refusal to put in force the same laws for adults and younger people.
Changes in how to deal with youth crimes emerges in the early 1800s as American society was undergoing major shifts. The industrialization was drawing people to the cities, which caused cities to become overcrowded and a great deal of poverty. The new separate juvenile justice system tried to divert youthful offenders from destructive punishments of criminal courts and promote rehabilitation. They wanted to focus on the child as a person in need of help and not on an act that brought him or her before the court. However, the proceedings were very informal, with a great deal of discretion left to the juvenile court judge. During this time, the judge was to act in the best interest of the child’s procedural safeguards available to adults,
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