What is Juvenile justice? Juvenile justice is defined as “the area of criminal law applicable to persons not old enough to be held responsible for criminal acts” (Juvenile Justice: An Overview). The primary goal is rehabilitation rather than punishment of the juvenile offender in the juvenile justice system and “successful reintegration of youth into society are the primary goals of the juvenile justice system, along with overall public safety.
It operates according to the premise that youth are fundamentally different than adults, both in terms of level of responsibility and potential for rehabilitation” (The Juvenile Justice System). Seventeen and below is the age covered by this law (eighteen (18) is the age of criminal culpability). We need the Juvenile Justice. This is not only to protect our children but also to serve as deterrent to juvenile crimes. Consider a situation where you or any member of your family or your household is a victim of juvenile criminal act.
Wouldn’t you seek justice -that the juvenile offender should be paying for the wrong done to you or your family? With juvenile law, you can have the opportunity to get justice. Now, with a vigorous and more stringent juvenile law “new admissions of youth under age 18 to state prisons have been dropping since the mid-1990s” (Hartney). This only means that the rate of juvenile crimes is also dropping. This obviously means also that it is good for the community to have a juvenile justice system.
It is good that most states have enacted a juvenile code with statutes that create juvenile courts. In fact, it is generally upheld by courts “as an acceptable extension of state police power to ensure the safety and welfare of children” (Juvenile Justice: An Overview). We need to support and strengthen the juvenile justice system. Aside from giving our full support to the laws incorporated in it, we can also join community-based support groups that would further decrease the rate of juvenile crimes in our communities.
One way is the organization of community volunteer groups where we could get participations from the members of the family. Shay Bilchick, the administrator of the Parents Anonymous (a parents’ volunteer organization) points out that “through volunteering, community members are given a vehicle with which to respond to the needs of their neighbors and to invest in strengthening families and children”. We should altogether support Juvenile Justice and work for a truly peaceful and crime-free community.
Bilchick, Shay, “Juvenile Justice Bulletin. ” April 1999. Parents Anonymous 14 May 2008