Difference Between Juvenile Law And Parens Patriae

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Most people would agree that laws are something that were created to help people. Most of the help is figuring out who is right, how to handle something, or rules to follow (Behl, 2016). Hardly anyone would argue that this is a bad thing, until the law itself breaks the rules. Many laws can, in fact, contradict themselves. An example of this is the juvenile justice system and being able to wave the juvenile to adult court. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) and parens patriae doctrine both specify regulations on how juveniles should be handled and why they should be kept separate from adult criminal court. (About JJDPA; Walsh, 2016). With this being said all states have one or three forms of transfer laws (also called …show more content…
Juvenile law is typically governed by the state and most states set the age for criminal culpability at eighteen (deferring between seventeen and nineteen in some cases) (Walsh, 2016). The founders of the juvenile court saw it as “a system of justice that would protect youth from potential harms of adult court and that seek to not only punish but also to advance the ‘best interests’ of youth.” The juvenile court, unlike adult court, is guided by parens patriae, which is Latin for “state as parent.” The juvenile court is set up to act as the parent and it can punish and dismiss cases how it seems is appropriate, while also seeking to help juveniles in a way that can lead them to live productive lives (Mears, Kuch, Lindsey, Siennick, Pesta, Greenwald & Bloomberg, …show more content…
The rise in juvenile offenders created must unrest in the community and legal reforms were designed to get tough on juvenile crime (Redding, 2010). One of the reforms were the transfer laws. The reform lowered the age (from sixteen to fourteen in most states) and the types of crimes committed (no longer just capital crimes), and reduced the amount of discretion of the judges. The reform also allowed more discretion in the prosecutors (Redding, 2010; Myers, 2016). After the reform the number of juveniles in adult court increased dramatically, creating a chaos of sorts with the community. People were either pleased to see a “crime cleanup” or appalled that so many young people were be labeled as serious criminals while still “having their whole lives ahead of them” (Myers, 2016). By 1999 the juvenile crime rate was on the decline but juveniles made up 1% of adult prisons (Redding,

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