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The juvenile justice system is used by the society to impose corrective measures on young people who, regrettably, have led their lives in the wrong direction in Canada and many other nations around the world. Many people are unaware of the Youth justice system's complete potential to lower juvenile delinquency in the neighborhood. The impact of the youth justice system on very young children is extensively addressed in the book "Responding to Youth Crime in Canada." However, there still lurks an unanswered question: Should the very young children below the age of twelve be exempted from the full effects of the Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act of 1984? It is imperative to note that the youth justice system can be utilized not only for criminal correction purposes but also for the general reduction of Juvenile delinquency within the Canadian society (Doob & Cesaroni, 2014). However, age matters a lot when it comes to the application of corrective measures. This paper seeks to provide expert views on why juveniles should not go under the same trial as adults. The reason behind this decision is due to their lack of maturity, getting exposed to adverse environments at home, lack of appropriate adult supervision, as well as little opportunities for them to undergo rehabilitation.
First, it should be stated, as well as not forgot that there are types of crimes that get committed by individuals who have not undergone the needed maturity state. There is a need to exist a boundary between the adults, as well as the youths when it reaches to the point of passing sentence. If one judges from a developmental psychological perspective, it is evident that just kind of trial to an adult does not bear the same fairness when administered to a juvenile that has limited knowledge regarding the law. Additionally, it is likely that young crime offenders will in, most cases lack an understanding of the severity that their crimes constitute, and hence, trying them in the same way as the adults will only do them more harm, than good.
The way that individuals interpret the given law should be different when the case is about a different young individual who lacks adequacy on what the law says about their crimes, especially if they are not development regarding physical, as well as mental maturity. In any case, where the defendant is young regarding age, the presumptions as well as result of punishing them should differ from those that should get administered when the offender is in an age bracket of an adult. As much as the opinions of the concerned individuals might vary, however, age should be a consideration when making decisions regarding the transfer, adjudication, as well as sentencing. This statement means that one should not say that period of the offender does not matter. Instead, an appropriate and unbiased perspective is vital in making a well I informed the decision regarding the ages of the offenders.
More so, there should be more emphasis on the age aspect of a juvenile before making final of transferring them for an adult sentencing. There is a great need for the minors under the age of thirteen to get tried under the juvenile courts, regardless of their crimes. A good reason that lays the role of such offenders getting tried as a juvenile is their mental capacity, as well as maturity. However, this youth with age such as sixteen is not much different from adults. As a result, a lot of assessment should get done before deciding if the transfer of trial should get made to the adult court, or remain on the young one. Additionally, if the justice system holds no consideration regarding the age as a trial factor, then there should be the observation of boundaries. For instance, research done on the youth development tends to be against the transferring of policies in regards to the kind of the offenses in questions, instead of basing on the offender. These arguments go-ahead to hold that such sorts of transfer policies should work in consideration with the juvenile offender’s maturity level, as well as the degree of eligibility, regarding the transfer. In regards to legislation, it is a bad policy for any developmental perspective to carry out a transfer of a case, while solely basing on the offense part of it and not the age of the offender.
Taking a juvenile for trial in an adult court should send a message to the jury that regardless of the offender’s crime, they still fall under the underage bracket. In the normal cases, the defendants have the mandate of choosing between a jury, and judge trial, an aspect that calls for a lot of factors before making a decision. However, a juvenile in the adults’ court of law will likely settle on a jury member due to their skin color, the color of their outfit, or because they might appear familiar. In such a scenario, it evident that the final decision made will be negatively impacted by the defendant’s poor decision of choosing the type of their jury members, or judges to carry out their judgments.
According to the law, the primary task of the juvenile justice system is ensuring that there is full concentration reform the youth offenders, and having them to rot behind bars. Rehabilitation is the best correction for the young offenders. Most of such culprits lack the kind of maturity level, the level of self-control of knowledge that one would expect to see in an adult offender. It would be true to say that most of these young offenders have no idea regarding the repercussions of their actions. In a point where such offenders get arraigned in adult courts of law, there should be a background analysis on why such a crime would have taken place (Casavant, MacKay,& Valiquet, 2012). In most cases, there will be those extenuating occasions for the offenders past that triggered their decision to take part in the given crime.
Consequently, it should get well known that juveniles cannot be adults by any means. Neither can try them at the adults’’ court of law can turn them into grownups. For instance, if a young one gets sentenced in a court of law, it does not grant them the freedom of drinking or taking part in casting votes since they will remain minors. Such offenders are usually less mature, as well as less responsible (Boyce, 2015). More so, young people tend to be more vulnerable to adverse influence form their peers to take part in various crimes and other forms of impulsive behaviors.
Other reasons that might make a juvenile to engage in crime include family separation or divorce, lack of adequate adult separation, the juvenile getting rejected by their parents, as well as the presence of different ideologies between the teenager and their parents. In most cases, such unconducive environment will see the teenager distance themselves with the objective of establishing their lives, only to go ahead and have it ruined by taking part in the crime.
On the other hand, the crime issues to do with death penalties should undergo high levels of scrutiny of the juvenile before making any form of final judgment. For instance, research shows that the youth ran to change irrationally, thus dictating on how the young person will carry out their actions. However, most cases will see the victim’s advocacy counter against this scientific claim by using since to have the offender evade the chains of justice. Most family members of the victim do not consider the age factor as an aspect in judging judgments about the murder. In such cases, people will not focus on the age of the offender, but the heinousness of their actions.
According to Casavant, MacKay, & Valiquet, (2012), problems emancipating from the children having to spend most of their free time with their peers, as compared to their families, lead to the use of drugs, as well as getting introduced to weapons such as guns that propels their chances of getting caught in criminal acts. More so, the impact of the media has had a negative developmental aspect in children regarding their sexual life, as well their health regarding the abuse of drugs. At this point, the question of who should be held accountable for such behaviors in children should run in each one of our minds. Is it children themselves, their parents or the society? However, those parents who are of their children wrong deeds yet do nothing to save the situation should be the ones to face the hand of the law.
Parliament is always known as the house of legislation where laws get made and passed for use by the citizens. The minimum age at which people should be held accountable for their social behavior has been a political question for years. In Canada, the Juvenile Delinquents Act existed to help in ensuring that children as young as seven years were legally responsible for their behaviors (Casavant, MacKay, & Valiquet, 2012). A child of seven years old could face judgment with committing a criminal offense in a court of law. The law was perceived to be unfair by most people, and indeed it was. The societal expectations may at times differ from those of the state hence having a general guideline to dictate the behavior of a child as young as seven is indeed unfair (Carrington, 2001). Such children are still operating under the guidance of parents and a leader, hence having a restriction on how they behave was like putting an additional responsibility of the caregivers.
After noticing and appreciating the effect of age on the ability to make decisions, the Juvenile Delinquents Act was amended to become the Youth Criminal Justice Act of 1984 (Doob & Cesaroni, 2014). In the amendment, the taking of the criminal responsibility got moved from the age of 7 to the age of 12. The truth of the matter is that as Youths age; they get more exposed to activities and criteria that lead to the criminal offenses (Carrington, 2001). The age of a child has the most significant bearing on his/her ability to make right decisions that may not lead to criminal offenses. Therefore, a child at the age of twelve has not developed enough to make the right choices. Further amendments are necessary to the act so that children can be held legally accountable for the offenses they have committed at the age of 16 years onwards.
Lastly, the rate of mental, and social growth have a significant bearing on an individual's ability to understand the laws and regulations as a citizen (Pitts, 2009). Assuming the legislation and its consequences develop at different rates in children and youths in general. Having attained the age of 12 years does not mean that a child can understand the laws in totality. Such children may end up committing crimes, oblivious of the underlying consequences, only because they have not fully grown to realize the results. In conclusion, the youth justice system acts as a better alternative to social programs in taming juvenile delinquency in the society; however, more attention should be given social plans when it comes to children below the age of 16 years.
Conclusively, this research works in appreciating the following results of the juvenile law offenders regardless of the harsh laws that are against the idea of juvenile justice. Although a lot of people tend to bring forward the argument that it is okay for the young people to under the same court trial as that of the adult offenders, the paper makes a requirement that the \us laws have not offrer3d the appropriate response to the growing concerns about the juvenile offenders. It is evidently unconstitutional to have children get tried as adults in the adults’ courts of law since most of them tend to lack the consent about the consequences of the given crime when taking part in it. Additionally, the paper calls for a uniform juvenile justice policy through the specification of ages that the transfer of juvenile should take effectiveness. Such a recommendation comes since there tends to be a conflict between the age limit at which the offenders’ case can undergo transfer in an adult court. Lastly, the society has a huge role to play regarding the behavior of the youths in the society. The parents, peers, the general community as well as the justice system have the mandate of bringing them up to fit in the good public image. Most of the juvenile offenders are a product of the ad environment they grow through. Hence the same environment should not call for the harsh treatment of them, instead of looking for a long-lasting solution to the problem. It is the state’s role to ensure that these young people reform into better people in the society, instead of treating them as criminals within the adult courts of law. It is only through having trust in the Youth Justice System that we will be in a position to achieve the required character of the youths in the society, instead of relying on the adult trials.
Boyce, J. (2015). Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2014. Ottawa: Juristat: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.
Carrington, P. J. (2001). Population Aging and Crime in Canada. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 331-356.
Casavant, L., MacKay, R., & Valiquet, D. (2012, November 21). Youth Justice Legislation in Canada. Retrieved August 16, 2017, from Parliament of Canada: https://lop.parl.ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublications/2008-23-e.pdf
Doob, A. N., & Cesaroni, C. (2014). Responding to Youth Crime in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Pitts, J. (2009). Reluctant Gangsters: The Changing Face of Youth Crime. The British Journal of Criminology, 49 (4), 597–599.
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