During the preliminary hearings stage, the attorneys assigned to juveniles represent many such persons and consequently do not have the time to obtain all the facts of the case form the point of view of the juvenile. Further, these juveniles are at a disadvantage due to their incapacity to state facts in their order of importance. While preparing for the trial, juveniles are again placed at a disadvantage, due to their inability to recollect names and addresses and due to their inability to highlight facts that would be in their favor.
Moreover, juveniles are liable to suppress information that could help in their defense. Due to this attorneys would have to spend more time with a juvenile, which is not possible due to their extremely busy work schedules (Young & Gainsborough, 2000). Children make inconsistent statements as witnesses and can easily manipulated due to the ease with which their emotions can be swayed. During cross examination, their statements could lack consistency. Further, their propensity to protect their family and friends and the absence of adequate language skills prevents them from making contradiction free statements.
Thus, the rules of evidence that are indispensable in the case of adults prove to be inimical to juveniles (Young & Gainsborough, 2000). The general opinion held by the public and elected officials is that juvenile crime has not been properly addressed by the juvenile justice system. The majority of the Americans subscribe to the view that the inadequacy of the various policies and programs of the juvenile justice system are responsible for the problems faced by society due to juvenile crime. Accordingly, much more stringency in dealing with juvenile delinquents has been proposed (Butts & Harrell, 1998).
The results of an NBC News–Wall Street Journal poll, conducted recently, disclosed that sixty seven percent of the respondents to the survey advocated that homicide committed by those whose age was less than thirteen years, should be tried as if the crime had been committed by an adult. Similarly, a 1995 Sam Houston State University survey revealed that most of the public wanted juvenile offenders to be tried in adult court. Most of the respondents to that survey were in favor of imposing adult sentences for serious crime committed by juveniles, drug sellers and serious property offenders (Butts & Harrell, 1998).
In this context, Senator Peter Domenici stated in 1997 that “In many jurisdictions, [teenagers] commit as many as 10 to 15 serious crimes before anything is done to them. It is amazing how ancient, archaic, and broken down the juvenile justice system is. ” (Domenici, 1997). Further, Senator Ron Wyden opined in 1997 that “It is not hard to see why State legislatures around this country are proposing bills to get rid of the juvenile justice system altogether. ” (Wyden, 1997).
The recommendations that the juvenile justice system should adopt are that it should protect children and families, whenever the concerned public institutions fail to do so. Moreover, it should afford protection to society by correcting juveniles who breach the law. Furthermore, it should endeavor to correct and maintain the unity of families, while ensuring that children are neither neglected nor abused. In addition, the juvenile justice system has to change its rehabilitation strategy, on a case to case basis, and ensure that it addresses the requirements of both the juveniles and their family.
In addition, it should provide due process without setting aside the victim’s rights and engender public safety while affording protection to the juvenile. Moreover, the juvenile justice system and its youth serving system collaborators should ensure that the family is strengthened, crucial social institutions like schools and community organizations are given adequate support, delinquency is discouraged, react to incidents of delinquency instantly and efficiently, and recognize and exercise authority over juvenile offenders who repeat offenses and who are violent.?
- ACLU Fact Sheet on the Juvenile Justice System . (1996, July 5). Retrieved July 12, 2007, from ACLU: http://www. aclu. org/crimjustice/juv/10091res19960705. html
- And Justice for Some. (n. d. ). Retrieved July 12, 2007, from Building Blocks for Youth: http://jjpl. org/Publications_JJ_InTheNews/JuvenileJusticeSpecialReports/BBY/justiceforsome/jfs. html
- Bilchik, S. (n. d. ). Juvenile Justice: A Century of Change. Retrieved July 12, 2007, from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/178995.pdf