Do you think the juvenile system procedure as well as its philosophy, have changed since its inception in 1899? Why and in what specific ways?
The juvenile systems developed over a century ago with the aim to differentiate it with the adult justice system. It began in Chicago, Illinois in 1899 since there had been a rise in crimes such as stealing property or petty crime and later there was a debate on whether they should be sentenced differently from adult offenders. The juvenile system puts emphasis on treatment as well as rehabilitation of the offenders in place of punishment. This means that the juvenile offenders would still be responsible for their behavior but the system would ensure that they get treatment and rehabilitation or any other form of correction that has their best interests considered. Initially parents were expected to discipline their own children and the juvenile offenders would also be treated just like the adults.
Over the years, there have been questions about how the system is run and some say it has been repressive. When it comes to the separate juvenile justice system, we see that it would focus on several issues including; the court could focus on the individual juvenile offender other than the unlawful offence they committed and have the best interest of the juvenile considered. In addition, it would focus on the treatment and rehabilitation of the juvenile in place of punishment, there would be less formalities when it came to court procedures and the hearings would be confidential in the case of juvenile thus maintaining their privacy. Due to all this, some saw no need for the legal formalities if it only focus on rehabilitating the juvenile.
Some argue that it was solely on concerns that were humanitarian other that considerations on the interest of the juvenile. When the law was introduced in the United States, it focused on the petty crimes and the family background of the children which motivated them to commit the crimes and this justified the system. Consequently, the children were placed in foster homes while others in big institutions, but in other parts of the world for example Europe, these were not reasons to place a child in a protection system. The juvenile offenders in the United States would have to face judgement from the system from judges who were either paternalistic or patronizing.
On the other hand, when it comes to philosophy of the justice system for juveniles, we see that the juvenile offender is fully responsible for the actions that led them to break the law. The judge concentrates more on the offence rather than the child and the unique circumstances of the offender. Recently, the juvenile is held responsible for their offences, there have been measures to ensure that the juvenile and public is refraining from behavior that could incriminate them. The consequences for the offence would be directly proportional to the intensity of the offense. The juvenile system ensures that the offenders grow up to be more responsible adults. The circumstances that led to the crime are considered to prevent the offences as well as equal treatment of offenders despite their color for instance initially the blacks had to face a pre-trial.
Decker, S. &. (2017). International handbook of juvenile justice . Springer.