Discussion response needed, needs to seem like a dialogue:
1. I found it interesting there was ever an argument for juvenile offenders to be tried the same way as an adult offender. The thought of a 12-15 year old being judged by a jury and then housed in the same prison facility as 50-60 year old men, is mindboggling. Given the rape culture and disease statistics learned in previous chapters, this would ruin the health of and do more harm than good for a juvenile offender. I believe all offenders under the age of 18 should be tried by judge, not jury, and should be housed separately in juvenile detention centers. Juvenile detention centers should focus on the rehabilitation of the individual and thoroughly teach them right from wrong, which may have not been done properly in their early years of development. I believe the parents, or guardians, of the individual should be forced, by law, to participate in this rehabilitation process as well to then be able to continue the rehabilitation process after the child’s release.
2. This entire chapter was fascinating to me but what I found most interesting was the gang control aspect. As I was reading the chapter, I caught myself thinking that there should be more police involvement within the school systems that educates youth on gang prevention and provides alternative “clubs” within the school that fulfil that void of a broken family that may cause young people to find a social gang they can call family. The GREAT program, Operation Ceasefire, and Homeboy Industries, do just that. They give troubled youth an alternative and provide them with education and alternatives to being in a youth gang. Humans need companionship and desire to have that sense they belong to something or someone. When those needs aren’t being met in a positive way with family, school groups, sports teams, or religious groups, they will find it in negative groups such as a local gang or poor influential group.
3. A juvenile not understanding their rights and waiving an attorney is not shocking but it is disappointing that majority rely on public defenders that are overworked and underpaid. Most public defenders have high caseloads ranging from 360 to 1,000 (Lab, S). The amount of cases a public defender has disables them from being fully involved in the youth they are defending. Many Juveniles are not granted a fair trial due to the behaviors of their attorney. Majority of these children end up in the criminal justice system without ever having any positive adult role model to invest the time to help them or guide them to a better life and that is terribly sad.
Lab, S. P., & Whitehead, J. T. (n.d.). Chapter 81: Juvenile Justice. In J. Miller (Ed.), 21st Century Criminology: A Reference Handbook (pp. 703-705). SAGE.http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.umuc.edu/10.4135/9781412971997.n81