According to the law, juveniles are defined as individuals who are young and not held responsible for different acts of crime. Most states and the federal government have set this age at 18 years old. Different jurisdictions have different age sets that determine a juvenile. The age’s definitions are often important because they make determinations whether individuals should be charged at the adult courts or the juvenile courts. The juvenile courts possess three important categories that include those accused of criminal activities, those accused of a status offense and those who are abused or neglect by their caregivers. There are instances whereby juveniles are charged in the adult courts, and this often poses a serious problem to the accused and their family members. This paper provides the various problems associated with juveniles being charged at the adult courts and also provides different solutions to the problems. It also provides information about factual evidence and its importance when dealing with juvenile cases.
Juveniles being charged as adults
There is no human being who can ignore a serious matter like murder, however sending juveniles to adult’s courts and condemning them to death is a tragic end in itself (Jaeger 540). Such acts are likened to taking the life of that particular child and torturing others. For a long period, English and American common law confirmed that young children below the age of 14 years were not able to have the intention to form criminal acts. For crimes to become possible, there has to be a connection between the guilty mind and the guilty act (Callaway 121).
The two pieces were necessary for individuals to commit a crime. Various legislators in the US have made changes to the criminal law idea that children are never able to commit a crime, because of their inability to have different formulations of criminal intentions (Singer 969). It is vital to note that there are no stated standards that make a determination of the ages where children can be termed as adults in the criminal justice jurisdiction; such inconsistencies have led to 200,000 in incarceration centers being filled with children after passing through adult courts for different crimes (Jones 1534).
Problems Associated with charging Juveniles in adult courts
It is vital to note that through the common law regulations, juveniles can never understand the consequences and nature of their mistakes because of their lack of intent to commit a crime (Callaway 18). In a rational society, the juveniles should therefore not be charged in adult courts, which often apply strict consequences to various choices the adults have made in their actions.
A clear example is in the case of Yates Amy, who was eight years old when she died after being strangled to death in the year 2004, in Georgia. Her neighbor Adams Jonathan was believed to have strangled her and guilty of the murder case. Georgia during this time had a limit of two years in incarceration period for such cases due to Adams’ age. After entering a plea, he was found to be innocent. Nevertheless, the legislature in the land brought about the Amy’s Law, which could have given Adam five years in incarceration for a crime and intention he had not planned. Almost every jurisdiction in the US has some form of procedure which is put down to prosecute young children in adult courts (Jones 1535).
Such circumstances are not appropriate as children remain to be children while in society and courts. Their brains never operate like those of the adults, and most of them never think or intent to commit a crime. They are never allowed to join the army or even order a simple drink of beer or buy cigarettes (Roznik 189). The same laws that protect the children from going to places where adults are should be used to protect them when they are found in different cases. Children are not able to enter into different contracts that are preceded by adults, and this should be used as a scale to eliminate harsh judgments on them together with the adults.
There are many problems that are associated with juvenile’s being sent to adult prisons. When charged in adult courts, most of them are sent to the adult prisons where they are put together with the adult law breakers. Most children in adult prisons have various problems and never fare well particularly because of their immaturity and normal nature of being children. There are currently more than 10,000 children who are held in the US prisons that are meant for adults, and most of them suffer (Jones 1538).
Most of these children are always raped or otherwise assaulted sexually by their inmates compared to when they are in their juveniles prisons. Their masculinity and fear always make them vulnerable of rape, and such conditions often make others commit suicide while others are killed to cover up the evidence of rape. This has made many people question the validity of the eighteenth amendment that prohibits unusual and cruel punishment (Callaway 130).
There is also a greater fear of the juvenile being assaulted or victimized, and this makes it probable for the courts to provide security to the children or allow them to be tried and locked in juvenile rehabilitation centers (Rattan 1). The issues of crimes in adult prisons or violence often lead to the issues of gangs to protect themselves. Such groups can accommodate the children while in the prisons and make them feel comfortable and secured, but such occurrences affect them when they come out of prison. The long periods of time that most children and adults alike spent in the prisons, and this applies when serious criminal acts have often been committed makes the children become dependent on the gangs and form theirs when they get out of prison (Singer 972).
Rehabilitation of children in such dangerous situations is often hard, and most of the incarcerated children often come out of the prisons worse than when they went in for the various crimes they might have committed (Rattan 3). After prison years, it is also common to find the children going back to the prisons for other crimes, and this is a clear indication of the lessons they learned while locked up together with the adult prisoners.
There is no evidence that indicates or suggests that keeping children in adult prisons will make them become better citizens when compared to being in their normal juvenile prisons. In fact, evidence and research suggest the opposite hence the need for the government to always ensure that juveniles are fully treated from their juvenile courts and not in the adult courts where they always suffer (Jaeger 533).
When children are put together with hardened criminals who are adults, they often emulate them and come out worse compared to how they went to the prisons. These are places where there is rampant use of drugs and other negative activities which are inculcated into the lives of children making them worse. They often come out of prison behaving as adults because of the father/mother figures they had while taking their time in the prisons. Since most of the children look for role models to follow after in the real life, most children follow after those criminals they feel better or worse, and this changes their behavior to follow after those they deem their models (Rattan 79).
Parents and teachers should be encouraged by the government to be first role models of their children, and this will make them become better citizens who will have no intention of entering into criminal activities (Jaeger 540). The parents should report any cases of indiscipline to the authorities, which should also be taken seriously by the authorities and actions taken against the children before they become worse.
Most juvenile cases have been seen as accidents, and this applies when the young offenders decide to take weapons that are meant for their parents and use them against their friends. Weapons like guns should be kept in locked places where children cannot be able to access them to avoid various instances of crime. The parents should also be careful when using such weapons, as the young stars often desire to try new things in life, and after their use they should be kept in places where they are not easily accessible. Such provisions will help the children avoid different crimes that might make them go to adult prisons (Roe-Sepowitz 601).
There is a need to rehabilitate children offenders and avoid taking them to adult prisons where they come out worse than they were. Children should be regarded as people with small minds that cannot be intent to commit a crime unless there is proof that the particular child made plans before committing the crime (Roznik 188).
Rehabilitation for young prisoners is often important, as this can make them change their ways and thinking in the long run. Such process, however, cannot be done in the adult prisons, because most adult prisons are violent and incapable of providing rehabilitation services to the young prisoners. The juveniles will need to be given the opportunity to have a clear insight of why they think or act the way they do, and this will be an important aspect of their lives as they will reflect and desire to make changes to ensure a better future for themselves. Taking children offenders and locking them together with adult offenders is never the solution as it often makes the situation worse in the first place (Roe-Sepowitz 603).
The youth offenders, whom the courts feel are adults, but because of age can still be refereed as juveniles should be given their separate place where they should be given an opportunity to mingle with one another, as opposed to making them stay with the adults in one region. The juveniles should then receive counseling from their restricted areas and never allowed to mingle with the other prisoners who are adults.
Rehabilitation should be fully funded by the government for the young offenders because of the various programs that can help the young offenders cope with life more easily. The young offenders will need to follow the programs strictly, and this will enable them to become important citizens in the future. The legislatures should also avoid the work of making recommendations to the courts to psychologists and psychiatrists because of the knowledge and experience about individuals in the society. The judges should also make use of this opportunity and make relevant decisions that pertain to juveniles; they should provide the basic foundation of the courts and allow the young offenders to go to their juvenile courts where they belong.
The government should allow various experts to merge and come up with different solutions that can help the youth become better citizens in the future. Through such meetings, they should be able to come up with different policies that will see a reduction of juveniles being treated as adults in the adult prison cells. The adults should also be informed that the children are like their own and should endeavor to protect them and not allow them to have bad behaviors when they come out of the prison facilities (Singer 980).Strengths and weaknesses of factual evidence
Factual evidence is that hard evidence or information that pertain to a particular incident, and which can be proofed or provided in the court of law for the judge and people to witness. Factual evidence often makes cases easier because of their present nature when different decisions are to be made about a particular issue that is important to society or an individual. Factual evidence is regarded as the most credible because of its availability and verification nature (Roznik 187).
Information about the date when a particular war started can be termed as factual evidence because experts and researchers can easily go back to their information and find similar results on the information provided. Most courts desire factual evidence on some case to make them strong and applicable in the contexts of those cases. Factual evidence in the case of students can be found when they start collecting different information and data, and find out that they do not have enough information of their own, and this can warrant them to search for past researches for factual evidence. Such evidence is often recorded and cited to give credit to the owners or authors of the works in question.
Factual evidence has various strong points, and this often helps the evidence to be reliable and credible when used by different people in the courts (Roznik 187). Factual evidence is often available and can be found or seen by different individuals at the same time and this makes them commonly used in most cases in the courts. It is also tangible evidence, and this means that it can be touched, felt, read, seen and even smelt, making it the best evidence to use when making follow-ups or inquiries about different issues in the society (Roe-Sepowitz 604).
Factual evidence is also not easily transferable, as it can only be used for the intended purpose only. An individual cannot make use of the evidence on other matters that are outside the issues in discussion or operation.
The weaknesses of factual evidence are that most of them can be fabricated and made to look like the original. Fabrication can be done by another person and used by a different party without his or her knowledge. When such evidence is used it often misplaces the correct information and always leads to judgments that are not true, and this only applies in the courts of law.
Courts should always make use of factual evidence when determining cases, and this will help them to come up with different solutions that are succinct and those that match the situation at hand. The use of factual evidence can also be extended to the society and the schools where they can be used to make different inferences that are important for learners (Roe-Sepowitz 606).
It is never possible to determine the age at which children can be treated as adults, but this should always depend on the case analysis and proper age sort, and compared with other relevant factors. The decision to determine the age and place where the children should be tried should always be left on the hands of the psychologists and psychiatrists as opposed to legislatures that are ad-hoc. The reason judges are usually used in the courts is to make judgments that pertain to different cases that face the law breakers. Politicians should never be left with the important duty of setting important decisions that affect the majority in the society because of the significant nature of various issues that pertain to human existence. Before juveniles are sentenced and taken to the adult courts, the judges should make use of factual evidence to establish their crime, age and other important factors that constitute their cases. Such information will help the courts and the judges to make relevant judgments that will help the offenders get justice.
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