Essay on Juvenile Justice Reform Act Of The United States
An increasing number of African American young males have transitioned from the schoolhouse to the jailhouse. African American males under the age of l8 make up 10% of today’s population; however, they attribute to 60% of incarceration (Barbarin, 2010, p.81). As a result, states are allowing courts to charge youths as young as 14 years of age as adults and place them in adult facilities. These facilities often do not address the problems that youth are experiencing. States, specifically Louisiana has not seen a decline in incarceration since the passing of The Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2003 (Act 1225). The purpose of this study to re-examine Act 1225 and to offer an alternative of implementing evidence-based community programs for youths.
History of Juvenile Justice
Juvenile justice in the United States shares the same history as does the beginning of most policies formulated for the health and wellbeing of children and youth. Prior to the 20th century, children and youth who committed crimes were housed with adult offenders. The culture at the time did not differentiate between the delinquent acts of children versus the delinquent acts of adults because children were viewed as “little people” and thought to have the same cognitive functioning capacities as adults. In other words, children were subject to the same punishments as adults because they should know the difference between right and wrong and, thus, knew the consequences of their…