Juvenile Justice: Incarceration vs. Intervention Essay

3213 Words Apr 26th, 2014 13 Pages
Juvenile Justice: Intervention versus Incarceration
Lisa Whipple
Professor Sinclair-Appelt
English Composition II
May 1, 2012

Abstract The national trend towards getting tough on juvenile crime by altering the juvenile justice system to more closely mirror the adult system was examined in order to determine whether secure confinement of juvenile offenders is as effective as community-based rehabilitative and treatment programs for these youth. Politicians and public perceptions have allowed the juvenile justice system to evolve from one of reform based thinking to one of punishment based thinking, placing more young offenders in secure facilities than ever before. The social repercussions of
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The states took on the role of ‘parents’ or “parens patriae” (state as guardian) and undertook the parenting responsibility until the juveniles showed improved behaviors, or became adults. Juveniles were no longer tried as adult offenders, and reform houses, rather than prisons, were used to emphasize behavior reform rather than punishment (Brinks, 2004). The juvenile justice system’s focus on reform continued throughout much of the 20th century.
Changes began emerging in the juvenile court system in the mid 1900s. During this time, the main objective of juvenile justice remained focused on reformation rather than criminal punishment, however, principles which were not previously in place, were being established by the Supreme Court, requiring juvenile courts to guarantee specific constitutional protections to young offenders. These protections included the right to be represented by an attorney, the right against self-incrimination and the right to hear the testimony against them (Ramsey & Abrams, 2004, p. 42). Although these rights are in line with constitutional rights afforded adults, many within the juvenile justice system were concerned that the court’s reformative techniques would be lessened if the same constitutional rights were applied to children as to adults. Justice Potter Stewart expressed concern that

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