Juvenile justice

Running head: Adults Sanctions for Juvenile Officers Adults Sanctions for Juvenile Officers 2 Incarcerating youth with adult inmates results in tragedies. Youth who are prosecuted as adults may be sentenced to serve time in adult sanctions where they may be at risk. Research demonstrates that children in adult’s institutions are five times as likely to be sexually assaulted, twice as likely to be beaten by staff, 50% more likely to be attacked with a weapon, and eight times as likely to commit suicide. Youth in adults sanctions will receive little to no rehabilitative treatment or educational arrives.

Sending a teen to serve time in an adult facility tells the teen, his or her family, and the community that society has written this kid off. Before moving more juveniles to adult Jurisdiction, the District should find out whether get-tough policies like Juvenile transfers actually make our streets safer. Will young people released from adult Jails behave better than teens detained in the Juvenile Justice system? Will all crimes committed by young people fall in number and seriousness? Does it save the city money to transfer more teens?

Several studies suggest the answer to all hose questions is no. A November 2007 report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention finds that teens sent to adult facilities commit more crimes on average than those sent to Juvenile facilities. A study found that Juveniles transferred to adult facilities are 39 percent more likely to be rearrested for a violent offense than are teens in Juvenile detention. Youth housed in adult prisons for a violent offense had a 77 percent greater likelihood of being rearrested for a new violent offense than youth in Juvenile detention.

Since 1992, every state but Nebraska has made it easier o try Juveniles as adults, and most states have legalized harsher sentences. Many states limit Judges’ discretion, sending all teens who commit serious offenses to adult courts, or allowing prosecutors to opt for adult prosecution. That sounds reasonable, but it can be unfair, says Kimberly O’Donnell, chief Judge Adults Sanctions for Juvenile Officers 3 of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in Richmond, Va. She points to 14-year- olds tried as adults for “assault by a mob” in effect, ganging up on and hurting a child at school.

And once you’re tried as an adult, you’re always an adult, which can eve awful consequences. For example, if these teens are arrested again, prosecutors can use the threat of lengthy prison sentences as leverage to gain a plea bargain agreement that might not be in a child’s interest, O’Donnell says. There’s firm evidence that teens prosecuted as adults are much more likely to commit crimes when they get out than comparable young people tried as Juveniles, says Shay juvenile justice By mammary tend to offer better education, Job training, and drug abuse and mental health treatment, Steinberg says.

Plus, teens aren’t learning from adults how to be career criminals, he adds. Many younger children aren’t even competent to stand trial because they don’t understand the trial process or can’t make decisions about pleas, says Thomas Gross, a psychologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. He has developed guidelines to determine Juvenile competence and is training U. S. Juvenile court workers in using them. New findings challenge common assumptions about teenage criminals.

For example, a study that has tracked 1,355 serious offenders for three years finds that less than 10% of those involved in a lot of criminal activities at the outset continued to be heavily involved over the years. A lot of policy is driven by the view that if a kid does a felony assault, he must be a bad actor from here on forward,” says study leader Edward Mulled of the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. We know arrests represent only the tip of the iceberg. Who really knows what else they did that they weren’t caught for?

Long-term studies of highly aggressive children suggest that some are headed for a life of violent crime and should be locked up early because they’re Adults Sanctions for Juvenile Officers 4 dangerous. Brain damage or family qualities may cause their behavior. Is it naive o think many of these very violent kids are going to stop, and we don’t need to be protected from them. In Mullet’s study, better parenting and long-term treatment for drug or alcohol abuse correlated with less criminal behavior.

While groups as diverse as the American Jail Association to American Civil Liberties Association have lobbied to keep kids out of the reach of adult prisoners, the bills before Congress will result in substantially more youths being imprisoned with adults. It is timely and important to revisit the few statistics on how Juveniles fare in adult institutions as Congress considers these dramatic Justice system changes. There is a dearth of data on rape, suicide and assault rates among the 4,000 Juveniles that are sentenced to adult prisons, or the 65,000 children who pass through the Jail system every year.

Some states lump suicide deaths under the category of unspecified cause; in reports, making the problem invisible. Other states and Jurisdictions list rape in with inmate assaults, effectively masking the problem. Academics who study this field warn that any statistics on rape are very conservative at best, since discovery and documentation of this behavior is compromised by the nature of prison conditions, inmate codes and subculture and staff attitudes.

There are also obvious incentives for prison officials to under-report incidents of rape and suicide because they are administratively embarrassing to the prison system, and could be used as evidence for law suits. The most recent American study on Juvenile suicide in adult institutions and youth facilities was done in 1980. Funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JUDD), Michael G. Flattery, a researcher with the Community Research Forum at the University of Illinois surveyed the number of suicides in a thousand Jails and Juvenile detention centers.

The study found that the suicide rate of Juveniles in adult Jails is 7. 7 times Adults Sanctions for Juvenile Officers 5 higher than that of juvenile detention centers. In stark contrast, the survey also found that the Juvenile institution suicide rate was lower than that of the general population. A more recent findings of the Flattery study. Analyzing data collected by Her Majesty’s Prison Service, the Trust found that while people aged 15 to 21 made up only 13 percent of the prison population, they comprised 22 percent of all suicide deaths.

Without effective intervention and help, these children suffer, struggle, and fall into despair and hopelessness. Some young teens cannot manage the emotional, social, and psychological challenges of adolescence and eventually engage in destructive and violent behavior. Sadly, many states have ignored the crisis and dysfunction that creates child delinquency and instead have subjected kids to further factorization and abuse in the adult criminal Justice system.

For children with parole-eligible sentences, unique release and re-entry challenges too often create insurmountable obstacles to parole and successful re-entry. Young people who have been in prison since they were adolescents need help learning basic life skills. All 50 states have laws on the books allowing Juveniles to be tried as adults. Over the past 2 years, 42 states have toughened those laws. Clearly, this is not an area which requires urgent Federal intervention to spur the states into action.

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