There are lots of issues and struggles that young people encounter at these difficult development stages. The building of identity is a difficult process. There is a need to feel belongingness with a certain group in order to enhance self-esteem and hence the pressure is higher, which could sometimes lead to delinquent behaviors. The justice system should recognize that young people have a different kind of judgment, which is usually based on the approval of the group.
In addition to this, it is also very important for the justice system to recognize that young people have little control over their situation and therefore they lack the capacity to alter their direction. If they come from a difficult family, delinquent behavior may become their form of escape due to lack of capabilities to alter their situation. This is something that adults have the capacity to deal with and therefore there is a need to have a separate legal system.
The ‘get tough’ policy does not seem to be effective in the adult criminal system and therefore, there is a need to recognize that this may not be effective altogether for the juvenile justice system. First, there is a need to recognize that young people are into paths quite different from adults. The deterrent effect argument may not have an impact for young people because they do not really have the resources to help them change and alter their behavior. The guilt of the person should be based on the evaluation of their resources to alter their behavior.
Young people seldom have the capacity to deal with the situation that pushes them to commit the crime. The government is indeed still responsible in protecting their citizens from the negative impact of criminal activities (Juvenile court hearings). Delinquent activities is not really a normal process of growing up but it is most of the time an impact of a different kind of peer pressure that young people experiences. Young people have different experiences of puberty and adolescence and this experience is in part influenced through the support systems that surround young people.
Most of the time, the family or other support systems would not be able to provide effective support system in terms of development of self-image; young people acquire affirmation through peers and other groups. In their wish to feel that they ‘belong’ to a group they commit deviant behaviors (Juvenile Crime). This means that in general, it is not really a normal process, but rather an impact of the difficulty of the family structures to support young people at this important stage of development towards adulthood. Delinquency could not be dealt with deterrence through punishment.
Once again, there is a need to consider that their actions are not really based on ‘capabilities’ but rather on their ‘incapabilities’ to deal with the situation with sufficient resources so in the end, punishment does not really have an impact. The goal should be to improve their resources in order to fight propensity to commit delinquent behavior. The critical development stage of the young people has a different implication in terms of their crime. These delinquent behaviors although grave in nature should still be considered as an impact of this difficult development stage.
The state still has a responsibility for minors, who are usually unable to decide effectively in terms of the direction of their actions (History of America’s juvenile justice system). There is a need to consider that most of these crimes are situation-specific and would not indicate recidivism. The reason for incarceration is to lessen the threat of the person towards the society. Young people are still in a critical stage of development and therefore. the state still has the capacity to alter their behaviors. Therefore, they should still be treated as juveniles.