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Juvenile Crime


Throughout history, many civilizations have believed that
juveniles ( peoples under a determined age) are not
completely responsible for their crimes, and they are not
morally responsible. The Code Napoleon, from France,
supported this. Children, under the age of 16, took only
partial responsibility for the crimes they committed.
Though it sounds like they got off easy, the punishments
for juvenile, and all, offenders were extremely harsh. The
death penalty was often executed for some crimes. 

The first institution, or "jail", for only juveniles was
The House of Refuge, in New York City. It was opened in
1824. By 1850 there were 19 other institutions around the
U.S., but they were not only for child offenders, but
dependent children.
In 1870 in Massachusetts , and 1882 in New York, juveniles
could receive special hearings in court. Special juvenile
courts were developed , and so was a whole juvenile
judicial system. The first court was in Chicago , developed
A minor infraction done by a juvenile was seen as a call
out for help, the child was indirectly saying they had
problems that needed to be solved. So juvenile guidance
clinics, aid bureaus , and special school programs were
developed were to help children deal with their problems.
Today in the U.S., the media is responsible for greater
awareness of juvenile crime than ever before. Crime reports
show that in the 1970's juvenile arrests increased in
almost every serious crime category, and female juvenile
crime more than doubled. In the 1980's 1/5 of all persons
arrested were under the age of 182. In the years between
1984 and 1993, the number of juvenile homicides and murders
and murder arrests have gone up 168%3. The fastest increase
in violent crime was in the age group of kids 10-12 years.
SINCE 1993, the arrest rate for juveniles has decreesed by
22.8%.In 1995 alone, the arrest rate declined by 15.2
percent. The ACLU fact sheet says that in the past 2 years
almost all 50 states have revised their juvenile court
laws, and are now trying mmor juveniles as adults.
Unofficial reports suggest that a higher percentage of
juveniles are involved in such minor criminal behavior such
as vandalism, shoplifting, underage drinking, and using
Much of the current juvenile crime is group and/or gang
violence. Gangs are considered violent, delinquent or a
"social support". When teenagers feel "different" they will
try to form groups or gangs. Though all gangs are not for
delinquents, delinquents are more likely to find support in
gangs. They have a need for belonging and love, or family
that they do not get at home. It gives stability and
security. Gangs will often require their members to wear
the gang colors.
The other place where juvenile crime is becoming a problem
is the school atmosphere. Every day more teens are carrying
violent weapons such as guns and knives. In some schools
tough security measures, metal detectors (etc.),have had to
be taken.
Violent activity is often linked to a persons social
environment. It is thought that children will commit crimes
because of inadequate parental control. In the Novel The
Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, Randy says the soc., a gang of
wealthy kids, commit crimes because they want someone to
say "no" to them. They have gotten everything they have
wanted since they were small kids. No one has ever told
them they couldn't have something, so they commit crimes to
feel like they have limits and to be rebelous. Every person
it seems, needs to have some limits to guide themselves
through life. The government also like to believe that
lower classed citizens are the ones that responsible for a
large deal of the crime in America, they are completely
ignoring the fact that Upperclass citizens do a fair share
amount of crime too. In the novel, the inference can be
made that many of the crimes committed by the greasers are
to create a feeling of power for theirselves and a feeling
of reverance and admiration from their fellow gang members
and rival gang groups. It made the Two-Bit feel tough when
he stole the black handled knife, and then it became his
signature mark.
There are currently 4 bills on Juvenile crime. They are:
HR.3565-a bill to amend title 18, United States Code, with
respect to juvenile offenders, and for other purposes.
HR.1829- a bill to evaluate the effectiveness of the
juvenile justice system and report on certain information
.HR.2817A bill to treat juvenile records in the same manner
as adult records in certain cases.
HR.3494- a bill to amend the Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 to identify violent and
hard-core juvenile offenders and treat them as adults, and
for other purposes.
When a misdemeanor is committed, the juveninle may receive
a warning, and they are caught causing problems again they
will be tried in court. For more serious crimes such as
robbery or use of firearms, the juvenile will be tried in
court, and if found guilty, he/she may be put into and
instiution and put into juvenile care at some point( after
institutionization).Or they may be put into a foster home
where there is a stable family environment. If the crime is
more serious such as murder, the juvenile may be tried as
an adult in an adult judicial system. It has been found
that juveniles put into adult prisons and adult judicial
systems are much more less likely to commit a crime when
they are released from jail.


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