Juvenile Sentencing Policy
Write a 1,050- to 1,400-word analysis of Juvenile sentencing that addresses the following:
The effect of the Juvenile sentencing policy on all involved stakeholders
The role of the courts in creating or enforcing the policy
Any recommendations to change the policy and an explanation of why you would make these changes
Include two or three peer-reviewed articles to support your analysis.
Format your analysis consistent with APA guidelines.
Juvenile Sentencing Policy
The juvenile sentencing policy has undergone significant changes in the past two decades. The changes follow the harsh policies that had been implemented in the 1980s and 1990sto curb the high juvenile crime rate that saw surges in juvenile incarceration. However, the juvenile sentencing changes that have been implemented from the early 2000s have resulted in a sharp reduction in youth confinement. The policy regarding juvenile sentencing has continued to impact how the juvenile justice system and its stakeholders operate. This piece analysis the effect the juvenile sentencing policy has on stakeholders. It also reviews the courts’ role in creating and enforcing juvenile sentencing policy and provides recommendations to change the juvenile sentencing policy.
Stakeholders associated with the juvenile system include judges, probation officers and chiefs, child welfare agencies, family members of the young offenders, their neighborhoods, and law enforcement agencies. When the shift in the juvenile sentencing policy, the stakeholders are affected in one way or another, as the shift results in adjustment of the juvenile system goals and implementation of the system’s services. For instance, family stability their young offender receives juvenile sentencing that incorporates the family to provide financial support to the juvenile. It results in the shift of the family’s economic stability. The juvenile sentencing policy also significantly affects neighborhood social capital and the economy (Barton, 2016). With taxpayer being part of the stakeholders in any juvenile system facility within their location, they are affected by the rising costs of supporting juvenile justice services when more intensive and restrictive juvenile sentencing policies are in place that tends to increase the number of juveniles in facilities.
The police are one of the major stakeholders in the juvenile justice system as they directly deal with and encounter offending young adults on their line of duty. As the criminal justice system’s primary agency, the policing role is highly affected by the juvenile sentencing policy. For instance, the juvenile sentencing policy defines the role of the police in preventing crime and delinquency, which might limit the police’s ability to investigate and prosecute young offenders directly. The other effect of the juvenile sentencing policy on police is that it restricts the police in terms of how they deal with offending juveniles and the provision of services to them (Sajid, 2009). For instance, when a juvenile is arrested for breaking the law, they are to be just reprimanded and released, referred to a probation officer, or to a detention center to ensure the police maintain a good reputation among the youth to be able to protect them effectively.
The juvenile sentencing policy also continues to have a significant effect on juvenile courts and probation officers. The juvenile courts and probation officers play a significant role in deciding the future of offending youths. The judges determine the case and the probable intervention to be used concerning the evidence of offending presented. The probation officers on their side are used to supervise the sentenced juvenile as they undergo the correctional programs. Both the judges and probation officers make their decision based on the juvenile sentencing policy guideline per each case they face. The juvenile sentencing policy also has an impact on how the juvenile courts are set and their procedural processes, including the rights of juveniles, such as a right to an attorney and a right to not self-incriminate.
The courts have played a significant role in creating or enforcing juvenile sentencing policy. The court decisions in the past two decades have shaped juvenile sentencing policy in various jurisdictions. For instance, in Miller v. Alabama (2012), the United States Supreme Court shaped the juvenile sentencing policy through its ruling that stated that it was an unconstitutional violation of the 8th Amendment provision of the cruel and unusual punishment to give homicide juvenile offenders life sentences without the possibility of parole. The Supreme Court, in its ruling, cited various reasons, including the availability of enough time and capacity for juvenile offenders to undergo rehabilitation and the differences between the adult and juvenile offenders in terms of frontal lobe development (Hurst, 2019). Before that, the Supreme Court in Roper v. Simmons (2005) ruling saw the court setting precedents that protected young offenders’ rights of not receiving the death penalty based on the reasons used in the 2012 ruling. The court has continued to make such rulings that are influential and used in creating juvenile sentencing policy across state jurisdictions.
The court, which incorporates the police, the probation officers, prosecutors, and the neighborhood and community organizations, has a significant role in enforcing the juvenile sentencing policy. Through the court, the already established juvenile system policies are measured and given implementation direction based on the case at hand (Edwards, 1992). The court is responsible for ensuring the juvenile sentencing policy is implemented accordingly, including making any or reasonable direction for the delinquent juvenile care, supervision, maintenance and support, and custody conduct. The court also has the power to follow up on the enforcement of the orders through probation officers.
The juvenile sentencing policy can be improved by adopting various changes. Some recommendations that could improve and change the policy include the adoption of placement strategies that would be used to curb the incarceration rate. The placement strategies recommended are to ensure the risks of keeping young offenders away from their homes are reduced. Young people being incarcerated or sent to correctional facilities that are far from their homes tend to lose family connection, take part in new crimes, and unlikely to successfully reintegrate into the community and educational system. However, with the placement strategies changes, the juvenile sentencing policy will focus on keeping young offenders close to their homes and communities.
The recommended placement strategies include establishing a local placement continuum as a replacement of locked facilities. The youths, who might be sent away from home to knocked facilities, are instead placed under halfway houses and local facilities within their communities, with the help of both government and non-government organizations in facilitating the rehabilitation processes (Davis et al., 2014). The other recommended placement strategy that should be included in the juvenile sentencing policy is the reduction of the lengths offending juveniles stay at various points in the system. The lengths of stay should be based on the young offender’s readiness to return home rather than on the current mandatory minimum sentences, which tend to keep making the incarceration period for already reformed young people longer than necessary.
Barton, W. (2016).Juvenile Justice Policies and Programs. SAGE. Retrieved from https://www.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-assets/67664_book_item_67664.pdf
Davis, A., Irvine, A., & Ziedenberg, J. (2014). Stakeholders’ Views on the Movement to Reduce Youth Incarceration. National Council on Crime and Delinquency. Retrieved from https://www.evidentchange.org/sites/default/files/publication_pdf/deincarceration-summary-report.pdf
Edwards, L.P. (1992). The Juvenile Court and the Role of the Juvenile Court Judge. Juvenile & Family Court Journal, 43(2). http://www.judgeleonardedwards.com/docs/1-ROLEOFTHEJUVENILECOURTJUDGEBOOK.pdf
Hurst, N.P. (2019). Policy Analysis of Tennessee’s 51-to-Life Law: Juvenile Sentencing Reform. Honors Theses. https://scholar.utc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1191&context=honors-theses
Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460. (2012).
Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551. (2005).
Sajid, I.A. (2009). Juvenile Justice Policy: Gaps Identification and Role of Key Stakeholders in Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Criminology, 1(3), 119-138.