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Juvenile Landmark Cases

Damian Anderson

Professor Virginia Jeronimus

Socio 331

14 May 2016

Land Mark Cases

            Every court system can be altered and changed forever passed on a single case. We have seen this through the years with many cases such as Arizona v. Miranda where the reading one’s rights was established; the appropriately named Miranda Rights. The juvenile justice system is no different as there are a number of cases that have changed proceeding and how juveniles are to be handled in the court system.

In 1899 the Illinois Juvenile Court Act was passed. This was due to the work from the Child Saving Movement where the activist called for governmental intervention with acts with children in regards to drinking and other activities (Siegel, Welsh, 465). These were originally handled privately by the family but it became a high concern.  The Illinois Juvenile Court Act established a separate court system for juveniles under the age of 16 (Siegel, Welsh, 474).  The legislature also allowed the juveniles to be “committed to institutions and reform program under the control of the state” (Siegel, Welsh, 474). Key provision of this act included the following: special procedures were developed to govern the adjudication of the juvenile matters, children were to be separated from adults in courts and in institutional programs, and that probation programs were to be developed to assist the courts in making decision in the best interests of the state and child (Siegel, Welsh, 474).

A key landmark case regarding juvenile court system is the case of Graham v. Flordia. Prior to 2010 juveniles could face sentences such as life without parole even fi the crime wasn’t a homicide. This changed in Graham v. Florida when the state ruled that it was a violation of the eighth amendment (Three Supreme Court Cases That Have Shaped Juvenile Justice, PBS). The eight amendment rules that cruel and unusual punishment as unconstitutional.  It should be noted at not all states have followed Florida’s example.

Another important case was of Roper v. Simmons. This was actually a monumental case as it reversed a 1989 court decision which allowed youth under the age of 16 to either life in prison or the death penalty (Three Supreme Court Cases That Have Shaped Juvenile Justice, PBS). In Roper v. Simmons it was as unconstitutional, due to the eighth amendment once again, to sentence a youth under the age of 16 to either of those sentences (Three Supreme Court Cases That Have Shaped Juvenile Justice, PBS).

PBS also mentions the case of Miller v. Alabama, which resembles the previous two cases. This case in 2012 rules that sentencing someone under the age of 18 to life without parole sentences (Three Supreme Court Cases That Have Shaped Juvenile Justice, PBS). This ruling established a requirement for the judge to consider the age of the offender prior to sentencing sentences (Three Supreme Court Cases That Have Shaped Juvenile Justice, PBS). Once again the Eighth Amendment plays a role.

A more daunting court decision came in 1966. The case above are consideration for the juvenile offender, however this ruling concerns the safety of the community. In 1966 the case of Kent v. United States ruled that a juvenile could be tried as an adult after considering the severity of the crime, the offender’s age, and the offender’s criminal history (Jacobs, 10 Supreme Court Cases Every Teen Should Know).

These are predominantly best known cases, and the ones that have had the biggest effect on the modern day juvenile justice system. As time goes on, there will be more landmark case that will change proceedings. These cases will stir up controversy as these did. But in the end, the courts have to focus on what is best for both juveniles and the communities that they reside.

Works Cited:

Siegel, Larry J., Welsh, Brandon C. Juvenile Delinquency: Theory Practice and Law. Cengage Learning. 2015. Print

Jacobs, Tom. 10 Supreme Cases Every Teen Should Know. NY Times. Web.

PBS. Three Supreme Court Cases That Have Changed Juvenile Justice. Web.

 

 

Restoration Programs for Juveniles

Damian Anderson

Professor Virginia Jeronimus

Soci  331

17, April 2016

Juvenile Restoration Programs

            Restoration programs challenge the idea of the use of punishment towards an offender by introducing methods of rehabilitation between those affects and such reconciliation. Rather than punishing and incarcerating, this system would rather use concepts such as apology and reintegration. Easy to see why such programs may receive criticism from the public who would rather punishment as a means of correction. To better understand the programs there needs to be more detail.

The basic principles of restorative justice include: 1) crime is an offense against human relationships, 2) victim and the community are central to justice process, 3) the first priority of justice processes is to assist victims 4) the second priority is to restore the community to the degree possible, 5) the offender has a personal responsibility to victims and to the community for crimes committed,6) the offender will develop improved competency and understanding as a result of restorative justice experience, and 7) stakeholders share responsibilities for restorative justice through partnership for action (Siegel, Welsh, 195).  Some of the methods used in the modern day restoration programs were inspired by Native American, Native Canadian, European, and Asian communities (Siegel, Welsh, 195). These methods include: negotiation, mediation, consensus building, sentencing circles, sentencing panels, and elder panels (Siegel, Welsh, 195). Within the sentencing circle the offender has an opportunity to express regret concerning actions committed and those attending the sentencing circles can propose way to repair the damage done (Siegel, Welsh, 196). Such a meeting includes a facilitator to keep the meeting going and is, of course, a natural party (Hines, Restoring Juvenile Justice).

In all of this, due process is respected on a volunteer basis and there must be a parent or guardian involved (Hines, Restoring Juvenile Justice). The suggestions of treatment can include Alcohol Anonymous and other substance abuse treatment programs (Siegel, Welsh, 196). There are a number of institutions that support restorative justice programs which include: schools, communities, and even the law enforcement system (Siegel, Welsh, 196). A view does exist that there is a need of balance in providing restoration. The principles according to Balance and Restorative Justice focus on holding offenders accountable to victims, providing competency development for offenders in the system so that they can pursue legitimate endeavors after release, and ensuring community safety (Siegel, Welsh, 196-197). These are essential to ensure offenders aren’t just getting off easy and that there is some progress to be made with the offender.

Though the criticism exists regards restorative justice as a weak approach to justice, success rate are rather high. Even though these programs have only been active for three decades there has been reduced violence, incarceration, recidivism, school suspensions and school expulsions (Eastern Mennonite University, How Effective is Juvenile Justice).  Other documentation show restorative justice lowered “violent re-offending, victim’s desire for revenge, and costs” (Eastern Mennonite University, How Effective is Juvenile Justice).  Concerning monetary payment for damages, Hines reports that restorative justice systems have restitution payments in percentages as high as 90% (Hines, Restoring Juvenile Justice).

With the information provided, restorative justice program has provided an essential service to the justice system. Rather than just punish the offender and be done with the case, this system puts much more work to better support the victim and offender. By restoring a relationship between an offender and a community, there are more opportunities for progress for both parties. They hear each others’ perspectives and learn what damages have occurred and the cost of repairing them. This system has impressive statistics that show it’s improvement in the lives of both individuals and communities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Seigal, Larry J. and Welsh, Brandon G. Juvenile Delinquency: Theory, Practice and Law. Cengage Learning. 2015. Print

Hines, David J.  Restoring Juvenile Justice. American Bar. Web. 2008

Eastern Mennonite University. How Effective Is Restorative Justice. PeaceMakers. Web. 2009