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Essay Sample: What Should We Do with Violent Juveniles

4 pages
959 words
Carnegie Mellon University
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Whenever a violent crime occurs we ask ourselves who committed it? What prompted one to do such heinous act as big as murder. Upon identifying that the offender is a juvenile we view it differently than when it was. Issues like the offender was a child, not thinking straight have been used to propagate the need to justify such violent actions. Trying them as adults in the criminal courts is a sure way to make these young criminals that their violent actions cannot be tolerated within our society. Why should we through the courts minimize sentences to individuals who in their right minds commit something so wrong. In my view trying them as adults serves as a lesson to young individuals that regardless of their violent actions their age this time will not be to their advantage.


History of the juvenile systems in the American justice dates to almost 300 years ago where there was little to distinguish adults with children regarding seeking truth. In the past children who engaged in in crimes that are violent were charged and sentenced as adult criminals. The problem with this system was that prisoners young and old were mixed something which modern scholars in law sought to change to protect them from harassment, abuse, and bullying (Thompson & Morris, 2016).

The issue of juvenile justice came into being, and proposals agree on ways to deal with the young offenders. Reforming and rehabilitation these young criminals formed the basis on what they shall be charged with based on their offenses. Juvenile courts serve to advise and find ways to rehabilitate these young people who they believe are not able to make mature decisions hence their actions. Judges in these courts however engaged in mischief and made judgments that depicted wide disparities on the basis, gender and other issues (Lacey, 2013). Supreme court was passed the juvenile justice and delinquency prevention act in 1974 which allowed the state to develop community programs funded by the state as opposed to replacing rehabilitation centers. In the 1980s there was a rise in juvenile violent acts leading to sweeping reforms across many countries to tighten laws on crimes committed by juveniles. These changes to date which allow juveniles to be tried as adults have reduced the trend of violent of behavior but not eliminated it. Reforms also set out cases where they can be tried as adults, and whether they can be eligible for working youths as adults some issues need to be addressed, and they are:

Violent juveniles deserve to be tried as adults and punished

Providing justice to victims

Juvenile system has failed


Violent offenders deserve adult trial

Any individual in their right sense of mind who chooses to commit a serious crime like murder should be treated based on their actions. I am however not totally ruling out that they can reform if taken to rehabilitation but these offenders habits cannot change if not punishment, a tough punishment will teach these young kids to learn to manage their actions and not commit crimes thinking they will be forgiven for their violent actions. Youths have killed, robbed, and hurt many people in the united states and have escaped merely because of their age. Most of these offenders have even repeated their mistakes even after rehabilitation. We can avoid these problems by trying these individuals as adults.

Change in the juvenile system

Juvenile courts came into being to serve the purpose of dealing with the young offenders, their actions however have been successful despite being lenient to them. The centers meant to reform the youth have failed as offenders have continuously broken the law even after being rehabilitated. Failure of the rehabilitation centers is due lack of personnel who are skill in talking to them to desist from this behavior. The lenient treatment of the offenders has made it easy for juveniles to commit crimes despite knowing it is unacceptable. Juveniles commit this crime because they believe they cannot be taken to adult courts.

Providing justice to victims

Juvenile courts have in many instances passed lighter sentences on individuals who have caused a lot of pain to many people. These leniencies have led to perpetrators going unpunished while the victims suffer without their families getting justice. To try them as adults is an excellent initiative because it will set an excellent example to other violent offenders who think they can commit violent crimes and face lenient punishment (Lambie & Randell, 2013). The state of the juvenile courts is unable to guarantee justice because of the many biases that come into play before a judgment is reached.


Violence of any kind regardless of the age of the individual who committed the crime is unacceptable and should be punished. To do that juvenile who fall in this category should be tried as adults and pay for their actions and through that justice shall be served. Our juvenile courts have not been able to deal with the criminal activities of the youth as well as not satisfactorily provided justice to the victims. Strengthening these institutions on how to deal with cases is crucial to achieving the needed justice for the affected. Laws need to be toughened to make sure that juveniles who commit crimes in our neighborhood shall be arrested and brought to book.



Lacey, C. (2013). Racial disparities and the juvenile justice system: A legacy of trauma. Los Angeles, CA, and Durham, NC: National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.

Lambie, I., & Randell, I. (2013). The impact of incarceration on juvenile offenders. Clinical Psychology Review, 33(3), 448-459.

Thompson, K. C., & Morris, R. J. (2016). History of the Juvenile Justice System. In Juvenile Delinquency and Disability (pp. 55-72). Springer International Publishing.


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