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Juveniles and Criminal Justice

In: Social Issues

Submitted By asclarington
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Unit 9: Term Paper – Position Paper

Introduction
One of the most recent controversial issues in the U.S. juvenile justice system today involves the use of juvenile waivers. It is now possible for juveniles under the age of 18 to be transferred to the adult court system under the waiver provision. Even more surprisingly and depending on the jurisdiction, children as young as thirteen can find themselves in the clutches of the adult court system. Once these children enter the adult system, there is a possibility that a myriad of punishments can be received for their crimes. Of these punishments, life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) appears to be the most stringent and the hardest to swallow. According to a Juvenile Life Without Parole Fact Sheet, “A LWOP sentence is the harshest sentence given short of execution. The sentence means that an individual will not be given the opportunity for parole review and is condemned to die in prison” (Citizens for Juvenile Justice, 2008). For some, the idea of having a child spend the rest of their natural lives behind bars for capital and even noncapital crimes can be daunting and unfair. For many young people, they are at the point in their young lives where they are still trying to figure out who they are and they willingly test certain boundaries. Life in prison without parole attempts to snuff out what little life they have just begun to build. However, many would also argue that if you are capable of doing adult crimes and are willing to accept the responsibility of the crime, then you are capable of serving adult time.
But with the landmark Supreme Court decision of Roper v. Simmons in 2005, the sentence of death is no longer possible for juveniles under the age of 18. This decision has changed our views about the level of a juvenile’s culpability and our response to such criminal offenses. Instead of facing...

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