Juvenile Justice in the Twenty-First Century

Juvenile Justice in the Twenty-First CenturyStudent’s Name


Juvenile Justice in the Twenty-First Century

Juvenile delinquency is a common vice in the society today where a significantly large number of youths are typically involved in unlawful deeds which makes them face law actions under the juvenile courts. The troublesome action of meeting the juvenile justice service incurs adverse social-economic effects to the young people making the vulnerable to commit related crime in future especially during their adulthood as well as increasing the probability of moving out of school and not seeking high-level education. Also, juvenile criminality hinders the millenniums from acquiring decent job opportunities due to unethical and untrustworthy reputation as well as impacting their social life reducing the possibility of getting stable marriages and starting families. However, the developing reforms over the past centuries have signified better results which are to improve and facilitated in the twenty-first century to create an effective juvenile justice system which creates safe and protective community that takes the role of supporting all the children to grow up responsibly.

It is evident that Jurisdiction, political pressure as well as economic actualities have enhanced positive change in the juvenile system shifting it from the expensive, ineffective and harsh practices to more transformed ways which aim at rectifying the adolescent behaviors into self-responsible characters (Valentine, 2017). In this paper, juvenile justice in the twenty-first century is discussed into an in-depth extent with regards to the significant reforms such as enhancing fairness and due process, the act of not treating kids as adults and providing options more that justice system. Moreover, minimizing incarceration and its effects as well as equilibrating personal accountability, youth development and public safety are considered as they all have the objective to improve the juvenile justice system.

To precisely understand the juvenile justice system in the current century, it is essential to Look at the history line of development regarding various reform waves seen in the United States since the nineteenth century. All of four reforms have a similar aim focused on improving the juvenile jurisdiction in the nation as a way of curbing youth criminality and irresponsibility in the society. The first reform wave experienced during the late nineteenth century had the rehabilitative approach reflected in the recent reforms that children are arbitrary different from adults, making them a bit little self-responsible of their deeds and they do not deserve the same punishment as the mature individuals. Also, the reform was aimed at protecting the youths and putting in resources for their future. The second transformation wave was around the mid-twentieth century where the Supreme Court provided against juvenile self-implication as well as the right to counsel and antagonize witnesses.

Increased number of juvenile delinquencies between the 1980s and early 1990s provoked the development of the third reform wave which had the objectives of enhancing retributive and harsh laws which were not oriented towards rehabilitation. The fourth reform wave was established at around 1990s after the government realization of the high expenditure and social costs confinement in the juvenile system (Spohn, 2015). It significantly stipulated the policy of holding an individual accountable for his or her offense in the appropriate ways which facilitates public safety, minimizes reoffending as well as resulting to significant outcomes beneficial to the community, families and the children at the individual level.

The first category of the reforms during the twenty-first century involves reduction of imprisonment and its negative impacts on the youth victims. Reducing incarceration is one of the most critical and cost-effective approaches that many states in the United States of America have adopted in the modern days. Instead of spending relevant high finances for keeping up juveniles in custody, the funds are invested in youth development programs in the community such as rehabilitation as well as sports and games. These activities keep youths involves at most of their leisure time thus are not much vulnerable to committing crimes as it was the case in the prior century. It facilitated drastic reduction of juvenile arrests in the society as the as the programs initiated have the responsibility of treating and supervising youths in the community developing self-actualization and spirit of self-responsibility (Phelps, 2016). The providence of education, rehabilitation, healthcare and conducive environment to the juvenile under detention is an important aspect that will significantly impact their ways of doing things. These services emerge to be forsaken by many states as they treat the confined youths as criminals and less humane. Providing professional tutors, health inspectors, as well as entertainment facilities, is fundamental as it enhances their development in a civilized way that will enable them quickly adapt to normal life after their release. The juveniles who go through whole structure juvenile system programs in the modern society attain high education standards and skills which increases the chances of getting good employment in future ceasing the capabilities of reoffending.

The act of treating youths as children and not as adults is another significant reform that leads to the development of the juvenile justice system. It is right that at times the juvenile commits serious offenses like adults, but the fact remains they are less competent and more prone to change leaving them less blameless than the adult. The recognition that children are not as responsible as the adults regarding knowledge and experience makes some judicially address the competency issue directly in their juvenile laws while other go to the extent of referring it to the mental health evaluations. Another fundamental aspect of this category is the act of giving children a chance to rectify their behaviors. It is done through rehabilitation as young people are dynamic and learn from their past and surrounding environments which will eventually lead to changes in their characters.

Therefore, the Supreme Court’s action of banning death sentences, life without parole for non-homicide crimes and mandatory penalties without conditional release for any offenses against the juveniles are sound (Monahan, et al. 2015). It is justified because children’s concise and cognitive is lower than of the adults thus, the need for daily intervention to teach them the right ways of doing things. The act of putting youths together with adults during confinement is harmful to their present and future life. Therefore, the act of keeping children out of the adult’s criminal justice systems is essential as in separate detention where they are treated as per their youth age will facilitate their development contrary to being an environment where they are taken as mature people. This policy is enhanced through making the process of bringing back children to juvenile courts from the adult justice system more comfortable and establishing the procedure for taking them to adult detainments difficult. Also, age raising at the juvenile jurisdiction system as well as holding youths charged as adults in the juvenile system will reduce instances of children being imprisoned in the adults’ justice system.

The providence of options more than youths undergoing the legal jurisdiction under the juvenile justice system will be a solution to children criminality in the society. The more the children are involved in the justice system the troublesome it becomes to the victims. Therefore, the implementation of openings for diversion at every phase of jurisdiction will increase the chances of avoiding youths’ detainment. The first step will be the prevention of criminality and intervention at the early stages which significantly prevents juveniles from committing crimes that might lead to legal actions. Continued coordination of children’s welfare at the school, with family and friends as well as in juvenile justice system will effectively act as a hindrance to the commitment of delinquencies among the youths. Other alternatives apart from facing juvenile jurisdiction involves allocation of finances to rehabilitation where the detained could be taken after a certain period as well as other social centers offering homage services to homeless children found by the police. Family interventions, as well as disciplinary enforcement in school, are also relevant actions towards developing good children behaviors by shaping and teaching them the right conducts during their tender age which will significantly curb the tendency of crime committed.

Racial and ethical disparities in the juvenile justice system is a new challenge that deprives fairness and due process in the body. For instance, the number of African-American youth detained in both juvenile and adult justice systems is higher than that of the Native Americans. To deal with the issues, the state governments have come up with ways of analyzing data to determine when the minorities are not fairly treated as well as training police officers on how to fairly deal with the minority juvenile (Guarino-Ghezzi, 2017). Also, the act of coming up with cultural sensitive analysis programs that will help to identify the needs and risks of the young people at the individual level. The due procedure of the offenders is radically being improved where the training is offered to the attorneys dealing with relevant cases to enhance their skills and competence on their line of duty. It can be improved by making sure that every youth have been appointed an attorney, setting performance standards of the lawyers and allowing all children regardless of the racial and ethnical differences to take part in health and mental assessment without fear.

Additionally, equilibrating juvenile self-responsibility, public safety, and development is another reform program reform that facilitates juveniles’ welfare to their future forecasts. The positive results of change and development will impact the individual, family members and the community in general. It is done through individual focusing, coordinating agencies as well as enhancing restorative and fair justice. Focusing at a victim at the personal level is more effective in skill addition and counseling in contrast to the act of addressing youth issues in general through the use of force as it was the case during the previous reform wave. It facilitates identifying problems of a particular juvenile and trying to deal with his or her case personally to ensure that the specific youth will not commit a crime again. Restorative and fair balance approach enhances community accountability and protection which facilitates self-responsibility as the children develop (Bersani & Doherty, 2018).The measures to enforce the reform includes developing strategies to build social competencies and youth skills as well as reimbursing victims for their losses and damages. Some states in the country have developed multidisciplinary teams to create advanced and coordinated strategies to cope up with risks majorly involving youths for the youths who are currently in the juvenile systems as well as those who might find their way in the organizations in future.

Juvenile justice systems reforms are evident in the twenty-first century which is vastly adopted in both the urban and rural states of the United States. The developments are useful in the modern society as per their objectives enhancing fair treatment of juvenile regardless of the ethnicity, the systems adhering to the fact that children are different from adults and increased interventions among the families, teachers and the entire community in general. Therefore, the development of the juvenile system facilitates proper children growth regarding competence and self-responsibility which is significant in curbing juvenile delinquencies both in the current and future youth generation.


Bersani, B. E., & Doherty, E. E. (2018). Desistance from offending in the twenty-first century. Annual Review of Criminology, 1, 311-334.

Guarino-Ghezzi, S. (2017). Balancing juvenile justice. Routledge.

Monahan, K., Steinberg, L., & Piquero, A. R. (2015). Juvenile justice policy and practice: A developmental perspective. Crime and justice, 44(1), 577-619.

Phelps, M. S. (2016). Possibilities and contestation in twenty-first-century US criminal justice downsizing.

Spohn, C. (2015). Race, crime, and punishment in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Crime and Justice, 44(1), 49-97.

Valentine, G. (2017). Public space and the culture of childhood. Routledge.

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