The word juvenile refers to a person, young and under the age of eighteen (18) years. (Poliak, L. , April 24, 2006, ¶ 18) Depending on the State or the Country, the age definition of the child varies. Juvenile system on the other hand is also a system that gives every youth offenders the opportunity to re-integrate in the mainstream society through rehabilitation programs and preventive measures. This system is to be undertaken and would benefit the society, as well as the youth offenders and their families. The Juvenile Justice System had a notable event in the latter part of 1800.
That period was considered the time of “progressive era, a discontentment period wherein extensive social reforms,” (Einstein Law, Inc. , 2006,¶ 2) stretched out from 1900 up to 1918 for nearly a century. This period indicated an alarming rise in the numbers of young delinquents. As a proactive response to such dilemma, the reformers established the New York House of Refuge in 1824. However, due to the lack of available space, the child offenders aged seven or even over the age of seven were incarcerated with the adult offenders.
Not only until 1899 that the state took note of the growing issues in this process of combining youth delinquents with adult prisoners. Since that time, the creation of Juvenile Justice System received attention in the internationally community. The establishment of this system is critical for the youths who are entitled for their rights to be protected, and for the State, which is actually obliged to protect its young citizens. This is the main reason why an actual law concerning the youth delinquents became one of the primary concerns of the State.
Analysis As the State, in the exercise of its authority, acted in the parameters of “parens patriae” role, and felt responsible to recover lives of young offenders before they became absorbed in the criminal activities. (Einstein Law, Inc. , 2006,¶ 2) The parens patriae according to the Law. com Dictionary is the Latin word for “father of this country, ” a term that represents the government of the country as the guardian of the country. It is expected that the government would take care of its citizens’ best interest and freedom.
(Law. com Dictionary, 2007, ¶ 1) For the past years, the statutes on juvenile underwent series of changes and revisions. However, still represents and identifies the said law in a society where the young offenders can put back their lives into normal stage, with dignity and by undergoing preventive and rehabilitative measures. For example, the statute on the child delinquency is the Brazil national juvenile justice law is “governed by a single national law and is under the statute.
” (HRW, 2004, ¶ 4) It was found in the Statute of the Child and the Adolescent that the youth aged twelve up to seventeen, already considered an adolescent, is charged under the Juvenile Justice law. (HRW, 2004, ¶ 4) Report indicates Brazil’s example on its juvenile system law do not support healthy because of the existing conditions of the Juvenile detention facilities. Most of these detention centers are overcrowded, dirty and understaffed and are considered “socio-educational.
On one hand, the flexibility built in the system itself is for the paramount concern of the youths and child offenders. There are programs offered by the State, rehabilitative and preventive, but depending on the case status of the child offender and also of his age. As part of the State intervention, included in the programs and services are processes, as follows: 1. Arrest- also known as the deprivation of liberty is when the youth is caught breaking the law, and it is up to the police to decide and issue warning and refer the offender to the juvenile court.
2. Intake is the process which the juvenile or offender had been referred to the court and a decision and upon a petition filed, the charges will dropped or the case will be informally handled. 3. Diversion is the process wherein the case was handled informally by the probation staff who may release the offender, either on the completion of the behavioral contract, the charges will be dropped; 4. Detention – is the process wherein the petition is filed, and the intake staff may decide whether to detained the juvenile based on necessity of safety and risk.
Once the youth is detained, hearing will take place within 24 to 72 hours without bail recommended. 5. Transfer/Waiver – the process wherein the offender is recidivist, a term used for a person with a history of repeated offenses. In this regard, the youth may be transferred to adult criminal court and done either on judicial waiver or on direct file; 6. Adjudication – the judge will decide if the case instead of the jury. Offender may admit or not the offense charged and if the youth denies the petition, the judge may dismiss the case or proceed to adjudicate the case based on the evidence presented by both parties. 7.
Disposition – the process in which the offender is sentence during the hearing once found delinquent and the length of the sentence is not predetermined instead, the case is reviewed and evaluated based on the progress of the youth offender; 8. After case – is the post release parole, maintaining the benefits accrued through rehabilitation once the offender is back in the society. Based on programs mentioned above, it can be noted that all of these are favorable to the youth offenders. However, the decision on which program best applies to the offender still depends on the determination the crime or violations committed.
Among these programs for rehabilitation on the other hand, diversion program is an option that is best to be considered. The same program had been used during the Progressive Era. Looking back at those times, if the juvenile offenders committed an offense, the case will be heard in informal court designed for juveniles (Einstein Law, Inc. , 2006,¶ 3) and without the assistance of the lawyer or attorneys. These days, the diversion program has similar process because the case is also being handled informally.
The only difference however is the assistance of other court staff or specifically the probation staff. The use of behavioral contract in lieu of the adjudication justifies the conditions for the release of the offender. Notably stated, the programs of the juvenile justice system even before indicate consistencies in authority application and administration. This consistency thus preserved the ultimate goal, to rehabilitate and re-integrate the youth offenders in the folds of the society and be functional citizens of every State where they live. Conclusion
Every states and countries have their own juvenile justice systems. A country that drafted its own system only shows that authorities and policy makers are sensitive to the needs of their people, particularly for the sake of those youth offenders. This system is actually an act taking all efforts to bring back the dignity and lives of the delinquent youths, which may have been lost due to negligence. The researcher on one hand found out that programs on the Juvenile Justice System could be more effective depending on how the offender undergoes the system needed for his or her restoration.
Regardless of how the programs and services are beneficial to the family and juveniles, it always requires courage to manifest changes in one’s life. However, it is important to consider that the juvenile justice system is meant to assist the offenders and not to punish them; rehabilitate them and resort them to various programs and applications applicable to them. It is of course critical to consider the kind of programs extended to these delinquent youths, programs according to the crime(s) committed, whether petty or crimes considered in violation of weapons and others.
Lastly, this research suggests that diversion program is an effective program to be considered among the various programs available for the juveniles. It is however important to make sure that program is applied appropriately with zero tolerance on abuses. Rather, its application is to the offenders who are qualified to undergo with this program.
- Einstein Law Inc. Juvenile Justice FYI (n. d) Retrived March 21, 2007 from http://www. juvenilejusticefyi. com/history_of_juvenile_justice. html Law. Com Dictionary. (n. d).
- Retrieved March 20, 2007 from http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Florida+Department+of+Juvenile+Justice+Selects+Actuate...-a0148649525