While prisons can be an eye opener for someone who has committed a serious crime, is it our responsibility to help juveniles be reformed or should they pay for their crimes in adult prisons? Putting juveniles in adult prisons seems to be saying that we don't believe they be helped. In most cases, are our juvenile delinquents really aware of their actions and the consequence that they have. Should they be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.Should the age of a juvenile differ from state to state on the way that they are punished. These are a couple of the issues that surround our juvenile system today. I will be looking at both sides to get a better understanding of why the laws today are the way that they are and could they be changed to help our younger generation.
Juvenile delinquents have been around for decades and the way that our justice system has tried and helped our juveniles get on the right path and stay there has changed dramatically since the early nineteenth century ,Juvenile matters were handled by a variety of civil courts and non- legal institutions such as Welfare offices. The doctrine was referred to as the parens patriae. Which means parent of the country (Black,1990). This term was part of the English common law where the sovereign assumed responsibility for the juvenile actions after the age of seven and beyond the juvenile had to take some measure of responsibility for their actions. Back in those days juveniles had no legal rights or standing in any court. They were the sole responsibility of the sovereign or agents. Children became wards of the courts and the courts was vested with the safe guarding of our juveniles welfare. In the 1990's the parens patriae doctrine became widely used in all juvenile courts throughout the United States.
The behavior patterns of juveniles are influenced in part by what goes on in the environment in which they live.