Juvenile Courts: History and Roles

Subject: Law
Pages: 2
Words: 549
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: College

I hereby submit my application to be admitted into the current justice program. I am mostly attracted by the fact that the University is one of the most reputable universities in the state. Over the years I have learnt that persistence is one of the great virtues that help many achieve immeasurable success with confidence. This is drawn from the fact that most of my childhood memories are connected in some way to the injustice facing children and how with cooperation from all the stakeholders, the juveniles in our institutions can become rehabilitated.

A juvenile court is a court of law with special authority to try and make judgments for offenses committed by children and youths who have not reached the age of majority which is 18 years. In juvenile courts, crimes committed by minors are handled differently with the same crimes committed by adults. However, in the United States severe crimes such as murder are treated the same as offenses committed by adults in 44 states. Due to rise in juvenile crimes that are violent, judges were permitted to transfer juveniles to ordinary adult criminal courts.

History of juvenile courts

The major social economic change experienced in the late 20th century prompted the establishment of juvenile courts in the United States on basis of the role of the youth in the society. In 1890, members of the progressive Movement campaigned for various social, economic and political reforms. This was due to concern over social disorders, economic disparities and surpluses of industrialization and the way these factors affected children.

One of the Democratic Movement organs was referred to as the Child Savers, which 6 of elite and middle class reformists who advocated for the formation of young offender courts to assist children with conduct problem instead of punishing them. This widespread campaign achieved its objective and by the end of the 19th century, the culture of treating children like adults was slowly fading away.

The role of juvenile courts

The existence of the juvenile courts can be accredited to the wider belief that children are not and cannot be held responsible for their actions. Hence, by treating young offenders like adults, the society is unfair to itself and the children. Fundamentally, juvenile courts were founded on two core principles: that juveniles were not set to be held responsible for their actions and that children are not fully developed thus easier to rehabilitate than adults. Ideally, it is for the young offender’s court to take over the discipline of problematic youth by establishing a philosophy and a system.

Young offenders’ courts classify juveniles into three main categories: those charged with criminal offenses, those charged with status offense such as truancy and those who have been neglected. Juvenile courts are therefore designed to provide rehabilitation rather than punish. The courts focus on the children’s needs, rehabilitate and protect them from self-incrimination. Some of the programs in juvenile courts offer counseling, education, drug treatment, job skills for rehabilitation and changing youths to be more positive and avoid getting into trouble.

The University has a good justice system program that passes the relevant education to the students. I am sure that I will gain the necessary education that will enable me to transform the way juvenile justice is carried out in the country.