As teenagers who break the law are redirected from juvenile courts to adults with increasing frequency, questions about the appropriateness of such a practice are raised. Initially, this measure was intended to reduce the level of juvenile delinquency due to its more frequent cases (Redding, 2003). However, as a result, the increased number of cases of increased liability for juvenile offenders of the law did not lead to the desired reduction in the level of crime. Considering that recidivism among adolescents who have served their sentences is becoming a trend and a frequent practice, it should be assumed that this system of dealing with violators is a failure. In order to eradicate crime, the state needs to implement social and charitable programs and offer opportunities and social springboards to teenagers in poor neighborhoods.
Adult punishment of a minor does not provide an opportunity to change a life; on the contrary, it makes a stumbled person a criminal. This happens not only due to the fact that a teenager gets a stigma but also because they are forced to join a new criminal society. These social realities can only cripple the psyche of a minor, which is obviously already traumatized in most cases before they enter prison (Lösel, 2018). The society of the prison is built on a brutalized version of the external order and the perversion of civil morality, due to which the violence in prison is even more pronounced than in the free world (Eisen, 2019). Every person deserves the right to correction, but he cannot get it in a system in which strength and cruelty are initially cultivated. Punishment should work as a re-education of the criminal and not as nurture and preservation of their criminal intentions. Educational programs, psychological training, and volunteer work in complete isolation from the adult prison world can give juvenile offenders, even violent ones, a real chance for reform.
Eisen, L.-B. (2020). The violence against people behind bars that we don’t see. Time.
Lösel, F., Bottoms, A., & Farrington, D. P. (2018). Young adult offenders: Lost in translation? Routledge.
Redding, R. E. (2003). The effects of adjudicating and sentencing juveniles as adults: Research and policy implications. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 1(2), 128-157. DOI: 10.1177/1541204002250875