Generally in the field of justice system, the minors of the society or those who are below legal age are viewed differently than those of the majority or within legal age. In this perspective, these minors are viewed as ideally unaware or do not fully comprehend the legal responsibility and repercussions of criminal offense. For such reason that the juvenile court system is made primarily to address the cases involving those of below legal age. Originally, it is also in the original philosophy of the juvenile court system that its target demographic is ideally easier to correct and straighten with regards to their criminal offense thus punishment in their cases are more of a rehabilitative approach. One such common rehabilitative approach in the juvenile court system is the confinement of the minor offender to juvenile correctional facilities rather than including their subjects to standard penology institutions.
However, over the years of its implementation, the application of the juvenile court philosophy has somehow deviated from its ideal course warranting several adjustments in its approaches (Sable, 2011, World Wide Web). On most cases, particularly those involving serious offenses committed by a minor, the rehabilitative approach has somehow became ineffective in preventing or reducing the recidivism from the involved offenders (Watson, 2007, pp 35). With the application of the “get tough” philosophy in which the punishments for juvenile offenses were made heavier in both its legal and physical aspects simply to instill fear and avoidance from its target subjects, offense recidivism was expected to decrease yet actual statistics reported otherwise.
In line with the current trends in the juvenile justice system, reformative strategies are being pushed towards developing the said justice system to enhance its effectiveness in rehabilitating and correcting minor offenders. On the opinion of this writer, reforming the juvenile justice system must indeed be made adapting mainly on the present situation of the society and not merely based on its ideal philosophy. One specific reformation strategy is that the juvenile justice system must evaluate the involved offender based on the offense made, personal background, and even psychological profile regardless of age thus deeming whether the subject must be tried either based on juvenile system or the criminal court. Indeed, this does not conform with the ideal perspective on the minor however with the current situation of the society, applying such approach is needed simply to enact the image that the juvenile justice system is not a loophole or escape route for minors who are deliberately and repeated committing criminal offenses foreseeing only light punishment because of their age. With this strategy, the juvenile justice system will only become applicable to cases with its ideal philosophy being applicable and not on all general cases with minor offenders.
Watson, C. M. (2007). Examining Juvenile Crime and Recidivism. Marshall University. http://www.marshall.edu/etd/masters/watson-charles-2007-ma.pdf. January 23, 2013.
Sable, K. (2011). Juvenile Punishment. True Crime & Justice. http://karisable.com/crpunyouth.htm. January 23, 2013.