Juvenile Justice System Evolvement

Juvenile Justice System Evolvement

Juvenile Justice System Evolvement

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Juvenile Justice System Evolvement

The act of young people getting involved in unlawful conducts have prominently increased in the nation. Juvenile delinquency is a typical threat in the modern society whose roots tend to spread as time goes where large number of juvenile continue to practice immoral and illegal actions in the community. The juvenile justice system being the body involved with juvenile criminality has certainly been evolving to different capacities as well as ways of carrying out jurisdiction in the attempt to curb this devastating menace. The establishment of juvenile courts was as a result of the alarming issue of the harsh conditions that the tender people were being subjected to at the adult detention centers. The argument was that adults are hardened compared to children thus it was not just to retain all in the same prisons which were always overcrowded. In this discussion, the evolvement of juvenile justice system is illustrated into a profound extent with regards to the change of original philosophy of acting in the best interest of child as well as the standard issues experienced by the juvenile courts in acting towards providing proper and necessary services to prevent future juvenile criminality.

There before prior and in the early 19th century, there were no juvenile justice systems and the youths were prosecuted and detained in the same jurisdiction systems as the adults. Things come to be different in the late 1800s and early 1900s where the where well-programmed collection institution, as well as the juvenile court, was established. Since that era, significant changes have been evident in the juvenile justice system as a result of the increase of young people delinquency in the United States as well as other parts of the world (Cicourel, 2017). In the early decades of the nineteenth century, the collection institutions were overcrowded, and all criminals were oppressed equally without the consideration of age. It was not just, and the federal states called for intervention where the young people could be retained at different collection centers.

The number of juveniles in collection institutions increased leading to overcrowding in these facilities where the offenders could be taken to adults justice systems for prosecution regarding the intensity and kind of the offense. Later, this system was questioned to be unfair as the juries could judge youths depending on the mood and temperament at that particular scenario. It significantly leads to the necessity of the nation developing advanced juvenile justice system where both the collection institutions and the juvenile courts are related and are entirely responsible for dealing with young people criminality as well as providing appropriate jurisdiction. The first collection institution was started in Cook County Illinois back in the year 1899, and they effectively spread to other parts of the nation. The establishment of juvenile courts that could significantly work for hand on hand with the collection institutions became the unifying factor in the juvenile jurisdiction system (Thompson & Morris 2016).

Later, after the invention of the juvenile courts, the “best interest” philosophy was adopted. It suggested that the judiciary bodies have to conduct jurisdiction with the best interest of the child to ensure that the juveniles are not victimized but instead natured to enhance their proper and upright growth. The intention of putting young people in detention was not punishment according to the law but shaping and rectifying their behaviors to better people who can later be productive in the society. During this decade there was mandatory prosecution for the juveniles as well as well as long-term or future imprisonment sentences. Things continued to be the same for the next sixty years when the government saw the importance of rectifying this juvenile jurisdiction system as it was not working out well as time goes. The necessity of changing juvenile prosecution was because of the increased young people delinquency which was possibly perpetuated by the appealing philosophy of best interest of the child in conducting jurisdiction.

In the 1960s the nation abandoned the ‘best interest” philosophy due to the alarming increase in youth delinquency and adopted harsher juvenile justice system. It was viewed as the appropriate solution to the increased intensity of young people criminality in the society. Under this particular juvenile justice system, the criminals could be prosecuted in consideration of the crime committed, and there was a possibility of a life sentence as well as murder (Emerson, 2017). There before the youths took advantage of the best interest of child philosophy and get involved in wide variety of illegality as at the end, they will not be punished but taken to collection institutions where they could be subjected to a friendly environment. The later adopted philosophy was not after giving the criminals the best interest but adhering to the maintenance of the federal state law and order. Therefore, in the process of shaping the juvenile’s behavior, they could be significantly subjected to the appropriate punishment. The intention of this kind of juvenile justice system in incorporating fear to the young people who had increasingly tended to go against the law.

Immediately, after the introduction of the harsher juvenile jurisdiction system, the number of youths getting involved in criminality decreased for a while. However, later in the 1980s and 90s the percentage of teenage delinquency significantly increased at a higher rate. The constitutional law regarding juvenile jurisdiction was adhered to and even made harsher, but the case tends to incur any change in the society. Youth delinquency since then up to date takes an increasing trend which seems not to fluctuate at any time. Research has put it clear that poverty, as well as the modern ways of livelihood, instigate the actions of young people being involved in criminal acts as a way of earning a living. The case is different here and has significantly developed to a greater extent where juvenile commit serious offenses such as murder and drug trafficking among many others.

Currently, the juvenile justice system does not adhere to the best interest of the child due to the erosion of moral values and increment of social immorality (Guarino-Ghezzi, 2017). The original jurisdiction system was only focused on enhancing the juvenile’s right way of living by significantly improving their social-economic living standards. The following juvenile justice system aimed at maintaining law and order of the society where punishment and prosecution were done similarly to that adult criminal justice. The current jurisdiction system tent to apply both the prior strategies where prosecution is done per the law and order measures as well as different programs being adopted to improve the social and economic life of the youths. It is right that both these two juvenile justice system failed, but the question is will the current jurisdiction strategy be much useful in curbing delinquency among the young people? Its efficacy will lead to a socially stable society where the only minimum number of young people get involved in the unethical conducts where a good number adhere to the law.

In the attempt of providing proper and necessary services to children to reduce their ability to commit a future crime, the juvenile courts have adopted some sound strategies. Among the common issues experienced in rectifying the behaviors of delinquent young people include providing training and education as well as taking them to rehabilitation centers. Training juveniles who are in custody equip them with different skills and ideas of utilizing the natural resources productively as well as ceasing the guilt after the release as they have something valuable to offer to the community that will help them earn a living. Many of these juveniles are prosecuted due to their actions of drug abuse and trafficking. Therefore, taking them to the rehabilitation centers for a specific duration of imprisonment is sound and effective in curbing their criminal be in future (Aizer & Doyle 2015). Also, by educating the delinquent children, they get the knowledge that helps them to distinguish between the right and the wrong as well as being equipped with appropriate skills which they can use productively to improve the social-economic and political society.

As discussed above, there has been significant evolvement of the juvenile justice system in the nation since the late 19th century up to date. The abandoning of the best interest of the child original jurisdiction philosophy to one focused on law and order at the mid-1900s set the pace towards reducing juvenile delinquency in the community. Change is inevitable but always better when adopted in a right way as it is the case with the current minor jurisdiction system where children are taught to maintain law as well as equipped with significant skills.


Aizer, A., & Doyle Jr, J. J. (2015). Juvenile incarceration, human capital, and future crime: Evidence from randomly assigned judges. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 130(2), 759-803.

Cicourel, A. (2017). The social organization of juvenile justice. Routledge.

Guarino-Ghezzi, S. (2017). Balancing juvenile justice. Routledge.

Emerson, R. M. (2017). Judging delinquents: Context and process in juvenile court. Routledge.

Taylor, R. (2014). Juvenile justice: Policies, programs, and practices. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Thompson, K. C., & Morris, R. J. (2016). History of the Juvenile Justice System. In Juvenile Delinquency and Disability (pp. 55-72). Springer, Cham.