The juvenile courts are supposed to judge victims of juvenile delinquency according to some procedural values and substantive orders that ensures that the juveniles’ rights and freedoms are observed. However, it is argued that changes in social and the cultural phenomenon of the people led to the change of the formerly rehabilitative nature of the juvenile courts to more address criminal issues by the juvenile. Through modern, economic, social and cultural development, changes in the jurisdiction of criminal courts have changed from their rehabilitative nature to more of criminal courts.
This development has led to change in the policy of the juvenile courts so as to address regal issues that pertains the youth in a more rational manner. However, some social disequilibrium between the people led to the emergence of juvenile courts. Feld (1999) states that,” public hostility toward other people’s children, especially the minority and the poor children, has provided and the catalyst for more punitive juvenile justice policies” (p. 6).
The changes in the public conceptions about the youth and the childhood in general can be attributed as the launching pad of the changes in the juvenile address about the law. However, human activists argue that, the law policies subjected to the youth should enhance an upright development in their life and that the violent sentence inflicted to adults should not be doubled to the young people. Other proponents argue that, violent crimes done by the youth are equally harmful as committed by adults and that the youth should thus be subjected to equally uncompromising punishment for their crimes.
This legal issue in the US is normally viewed under two perspectives that have contributed intensely to the changing imagery of the juvenile court perceptions of the past to the current notion. One, children been dependent from their parents and therefore there is the need for the state protection of their rights, and secondly, children as been responsible people of their own criminal undertakings and therefore should be protected by the public. With these aspects in mind, the criminal court was developed on several planes and sphere of social cultural and criminal grounds.
With the many changes in the child development environment, reformers to the juvenile court have proposed for the obligatory role of the public in being the modelers of their children’s welfare rather than the states. They have therefore proposed of the youth to be self responsible in their actions without any regard or recognition to their basic social ground that they come in. Despite of the juvenile court attempt to act as rehabilitative centers for its client, it has been faced with a continued resource shortages that can address diverse social class differences in the clients of the juvenile court.
Ideally, the juvenile court in the United States was specifically made to address some three positions in the society; firstly, it was established to foster a social control upon, the youths. This was in realization that different youths came from varied socio-economic backgrounds whose indifferences could only be captured through the use of the juvenile courts. Secondly, was to find a solution for the youth due to the changing social-economies environment. This was basically to help model the youth to be better responsible adults.
Thirdly, it was to overcome the racial differences of the youth as brought up differently in the United States. This was after a close scrutiny of the difference between the industrialized and the industrialized scenarios of the United States urban centers. With the initial goal of the juvenile court, rehabilitation, the juvenile court in the United States has employed on the use of probation as a tool for offenders of any criminal act at their juvenile ages. Beard, (1934) recommends that, “juvenile probation has been aptly called the forerunner of the juvenile court”.
He suggests that, “apprehend the child when he first shows signs of delinquency; supervise him so that additional offenses will not committed; prevent the development of criminal habits and attitudes, then there can be no more crime” (p1). It is aimed at saving those whom burdens about their life are heavy and can have no good life without guidance. They considered a victim of an offense under the age of a juvenile or a person who was unjust and thus his life was to be protected for the person to achieve his goals.
The court employs well trained and competent officers who use their competence in training the offender to perform his life in the so guided life. They believed that, by guiding the youth to ascribe to a specific way of life would be more realistic than to lock him up in the police custodies whenever he has committed a crime. It involve observing the offender at his early ages about the possible weakness he may have and then train him the suit to the correct way which he will be able to follow later.