Click to Get Free Consultation

Are Changes Required In Regards To Juvenile Offenses?

States like California have very harsh laws when it comes to juvenile offenders. As a result of these laws, many young offenders have ended up serving harsh and long prison sentences, which would not have been required had the law been simpler. These harsh penalties were imposed on offenders as part of a wave of harsh new laws that were passed nationwide, with the aim to strike back against an anticipated wave of juvenile “superpredators,” also known as remorseless kid criminals.

One such incident was of Alonza Thomas, who committed an armed robbery at the age of 15 years, in the year 2000. This was shortly after the harsh juvenile laws were put in place. As a result of the laws, Thomas ended up serving 13 years in an adult prison, instead of being tried as a juvenile. Although no one was harmed in the armed robbery, Thomas would have been tried as an adult and sentenced to face hard time under Proposition 21.

In the year 1997, juvenile arrest rates peaked, before they started dropping in the years after. However, this peak in juvenile arrests soon led to the filling up of prisons, including adult prisons, with kids, putting a strain on the state budgets. The issue also raised serious human rights concerns and things started to gradually change. In recent years, states have now begun considering new approaches to juvenile offenders. A new research shows that if a young person is incarcerated, it actually leads to an increase in the chances of the person to commit another crime.

Amid all these developments, both state and federal courts decided to object harsh sentencing for young people. After the juvenile crime rate peaked in 1997, but the juvenile arrest rate dropped 48% by the year 2011. Starting in 2004, the Supreme Court stepped in and reshaped the juvenile justice landscape. The first step taken was to abolish capital punishment for crimes committed by juveniles. In 2010, the court decided that states cannot impose mandatory life sentences on juveniles convicted of crimes, apart from homicide. In 2012, court expanded on this ruling, declaring mandatory life sentences for juveniles convicted of any crime to be unconstitutional.

Several studies and researches have been carried out by juvenile law professors and other experts to shed light on the juvenile justice system. According to Barry Feld, “Kids are not adults. Children are different.” Courts have also made decisions based on research showing that adolescent brains aren’t fully developed. That is particularly true when it comes to emotion and decision-making.

Today, many states have set up task forces to implement reforms, including programs to keep young offenders in their own communities rather than sending them to upstate facilities. By keeping them in their own communities, it allows them to focus on issues like their education and mental health. Still, a lot of changes are needed in the juvenile justice system, which dates as far back as the 19th century and has undergone a series of reforms over time.

How useful was this article?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating
/ 5. Vote count:

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Comparison Questions to Ask When Hiring a Lawyer

Request a Free Consultation

Fill out the form below to recieve a free and confidential intial consultation.

Click here for important legal disclaimer.

ASSOCIATIONS


10.0 Superb Rating AVVO Criminal Defense

10.0 Superb Rating
AVVO Criminal Defense

AV-Highest Rated Preeminent Lawyers Martindale-Hubbell

AV-Highest Rated Preeminent Lawyers
Martindale-Hubbell

Nation's Top 1% Attorney National Association of Distinguished Counsel

Nation's Top 1% Attorney
National Association of Distinguished Counsel

Super Lawyer Criminal & DUI Defense

Super Lawyer
Criminal & DUI Defense

Top 100 Trial Lawyers (Criminal Defense) American Trial Lawyers Association

Top 100 Trial Lawyers
(Criminal Defense)

American Trial Lawyers Association

Client Satisfaction Award American Institute of DUI / DWI Attorneys

Client Satisfaction Award
American Institute of DUI / DWI Attorneys

Top 100 Lawyer American Society of Legal Advocates

Top 100 Lawyer
American Society of Legal Advocates

Top 10 DUI/DWI Law Firm American Institute of DUI / DWI Attorneys

Top 10 DUI/DWI Law Firm
American Institute of DUI / DWI Attorneys

Member National College for DUI Defense

Member
National College for DUI Defense

Top 10 Attorney National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys

Top 10 Attorney
National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys

Charter Member Trial Masters

Charter Member
Trial Masters

Member DUI Defense Lawyers Association

Member
DUI Defense Lawyers Association

Lifetime Charter Member Best Attorneys of America

Lifetime Charter Member
Best Attorneys of America

Member American Bar Foundation

Member
American Bar Foundation

Sustaining Member Arizona Trial Lawyers Association

Sustaining Member
Arizona Trial Lawyers Association

Member American Association for Justice

Member
American Association for Justice

Life Member Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice

Life Member
Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice

Superior DUI Attorney National Advocacy for DUI Defense

Superior DUI Attorney
National Advocacy for DUI Defense

Member Since 1989 American Bar Association

Member Since 1989
American Bar Association

Better Business Bureau A+ Rating

Better Business Bureau
A+ Rating

DM Cantor Criminal Defense

Call 24/7 602-307-0808

40 N Central Ave, Ste 2300
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Click here for Directions

For Family Law questions please go to Cantor Law Group.
Call Now Button
[contact-form-7 id="9447" title="Exit Intent"]