High Risk Of Reoffending : A Unique Problem For Systems Of Criminal Punishments And Deterrence

1217 Words Apr 8th, 2016 5 Pages
High Risk of Reoffending One of the liveliest debates over the United States’ imprisonment system today (as well as the systems of other countries) concerns juvenile offenders. On the one hand, the debate consists of acknowledging that they are children. It is believed that juvenile offenders have not had the chance to fully mold their lives, and are very often merely products of the environments in which they have grown up. On the other hand, it is proven that many juveniles are capable of committing crimes every bit as heinous as fully grown adults. The case of juvenile offenders presents a unique problem for systems of criminal punishments and deterrence. An additional layer of complexity is added when we consider repeat juvenile offenders. Again, on the one hand they are (still) just children. Children make mistakes. Every one of us was once a child, and every one of us made mistakes. Most of us were given chances to do better. On the other hand, if the initial plea on the behalf of juveniles was compelling—that they are just children, and are not fully responsible for their actions—then the same plea on behalf of repeat juvenile offenders seems less compelling. How many chances are we prepared to give criminal offenders, irrespective of their ages? There are two parts to the problem in question. The first is the effectiveness of the legal system with respect to first time juvenile offenders. This question cannot be ignored, since it influences the second question. To…

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