Mankind’s history has always been marred with violations made against each other. What is really surprising to know is that there is a rising trend showing more and more youngsters, those aged below 18 years, committing both petty and serious crimes. What has the world come to?
According to the Law Office of Doreene A. Kuffer, 52 out of 100 juvenile cases handled in courts all over the United States involve children aged 16 and below. What is more troubling is that almost one and a half million criminal court cases involve juveniles aged below 18 years old. Almost 6 out of 10 of these cases are made against another individual, 53 percent were directed towards property constituting vandalism, 49 percent were disruptive and disorderly behavior in public, and a good 41 percent were related to violations of existing drug laws.
Two-thirds of juvenile offenders are young white males with more than 75 percent charged for drug law violations. Among the black population of juvenile delinquents, the major type of offense that is often charged them is offenses against persons.
Punishment for Juvenile Crimes
Individuals below the age of 18 who commit a felony are always brought to a juvenile court and are represented by juvenile defense attorneys Albuquerque. The main difference in other courts is that there will be no trials by jury. Instead, the juvenile court judge will render judgment based on the evidences that are presented by the prosecution. Typically, the punishment for juvenile crimes can fall under two broad categories.
- Non-incarceration types of punishment can include the issuance of a verbal warning, mandatory counseling, payment of fines, provision of community service, application of an electronic monitoring device, and a probationary status.
- Incarceration types of punishment can include enforced house arrest or home confinement, placement in a juvenile hall or facility, incarceration in a more secured juvenile facility especially for more serious crimes, and a probationary sentencing usually after juvenile hall term.
It should be noted that for more serious crimes, adult criminal penalties can be meted. This is especially true for more heinous crimes such as first-degree murder, rape, and other sex-related offenses. These are often applied to a juvenile who is at least 14 years of age.
While the growing crime rate involving youngsters is alarming, the important question is what the family and the community are doing? It is the duty of families to guide their children to grow into responsible adults. It is also the responsibility of communities to make sure that this growth is fostered, not threatened.