The Juvenile Offender Act Of 1978 Essay example

1232 Words Nov 4th, 2015 5 Pages
INTRODUCTION In forty-eight states a child of seventeen has the opportunity for their misdemeanor to go to a juvenile court, them to be reprimanded, and then their file sealed so as to give them the chance to succeed in life. This honors the idea that young adults are not, in fact, adults. From brain chemistry to peer pressure, adolescents have several vulnerabilities unique to their age. In New York and North Carolina, however, they are automatically tried as an adult at the age of sixteen (Raise 2015) -- with no consideration of the severity of their crime, little consideration to their physical and emotional vulnerabilities, and no thought to the damage that such a criminalization causes. In New York, the Juvenile Offender Act of 1978 followed by the establishment of Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), has been a roadblock for youth in the state to maintain their independence and the potential opportunities in their life (Cannon 2010) The 1978 Act established the idea that all juvenile criminals were treated as offenders, as young as thirteen. At the same time the criminalization of adolescents was becoming harsher with more punitive movements being pushed in several branches of the juvenile justice system. Correctional facilities lost their focus on rehabilitative practices and as New York began trying more juveniles as adults the juvenile facilities were reduced in both size and funding. The 1979 DJJ attempted to mitigate this system and establish smaller…

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