As the Juvenile Justice system strives to respond to the need to pursue dulcification of the criminal behavior of Juveniles, they continue to find that it is becoming more challenging to succeed. According to Ditz (2014), “the term dulcification refers to the tough on kids, scare them straight mentality that has pervaded the Juvenile justice system for decades, resulting in children getting adult penalties via mandatory minimums and sentencing enhancements”.
Dulcification is sentencing juvenile offenders as adults for adult crimes that they have committed. Some of the challenges that the Juvenile Justice system faces is the minimum age of the Juvenile, should the Juvenile receive the death penalty or life in prison and were they should be placed in prison. Should these Juveniles be housed in the same prisons as adult offenders? State statues determine the type of punishment that a Juvenile will face, once their case is forwarded to an adult courtroom. In the Roper v. Simmons, 543 U. S. 551 case of 2005, .. He U. S. Supreme Court determined that executing Juveniles under the age of 18 constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment” (Benson & Marks, 2008, p. 29). Juveniles were viewed as being too immature and not as responsible as an adult, influenced more by peer pressure, and more vulnerable than an adult. According to Lies and Amok (2015), “in fact, studies have found that Juveniles transferred to adult court have a greater likelihood of reasserts for both violent and property offenses” (p 77). According to Merle and
Benson (2010), “other states authorize youth to be incarcerated with adult offenders in adult Jails and prisons without any attempt to segregate them” (p. 12). Housing juveniles with adults can lead to Juveniles becoming victims or crimes being committed against them in prison and higher suicide rates. “Juveniles are also affected by the lack of appropriate medical services in prisons. These youth require education programs that address their physical and sexual development” (Benson et. Al. , 2008, p. 8). Proverbs 31 :9 states to speak up and Judge fairly; defend the rights f the poor and needy (New International Version).