Child or adult? Determining if a child should be tried in the juvenile or the criminal justice system

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Child or Adult?

Determining whether to try a child in the juvenile or the criminal justice system will have an impact on every step of his or her experience. Although the exact laws and practices of the systems vary from state to state, broad underlying beliefs differentiate the two systems. While the juvenile system is often thought to be more lenient in its punishments, there are often stricter regulations throughout the process. In the juvenile system a child may not have a right to a jury trial or bail. Juvenile records are not open to public access like adult criminal records and parole is very different between the two systems. When the child in question is treated by the justice system as a child, the courts act as more of a parent attempting to punish but also protect.

Differences between juvenile and adult criminal justice systems exist at every step of the way. In the website Four Kids, Four Crimes (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., follows four cases and examines how and why two defendants were tried as juveniles and two were tried as adults. After reading all four case stories, choose one of the cases and answer the following questions:

  • Which case did you choose? Was he tried as an adult or a juvenile?
  • Discuss whether you agree with the decision made to try the juvenile as an adult or as a juvenile. What factors did you rely on to arrive at this decision?
  • What scholarly evidence did you use in making your decision? Why is this resource credible and compelling?
  • Compare your chosen case to that of Christian Fernandez (covered in your text at the beginning of Chapter 5). What similarities and differences are there? Would you have tried Christian as an adult if you were the prosecutor? Why or why not?
  • Are girls (women) treated the same as boys (men) in the criminal justice system? Be sure to discuss both juvenile and adult offenders of each gender.

Your initial post should be at least 350 words in length. Support your claims with examples from the required material(s) and at least one other scholarly resource. Please properly cite in the body of your work and at the end of your work your required references. Be sure to support any opinions you have with credible, scientific evidence. APA Style please

The book for the class is Crime & Society by Kimberly Collica and Jennifer Furs

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