Juvenile justice has proved to be as imprudent as it is practical. Snyder and Sickmund (1999) found that as early as 1825, there was a significant push to establish a separate juvenile justice system focused on rehabilitation and treatment. The procedure continued to stay focused on the rehabilitation of a person, even though financial support and assets sustained to hold back its achievement. In reaction to rising juvenile crime rates in the 1980s’, more corrective laws were approved (Snyder and Sickmund 1999). In the 1990s, the United States legal system took further steps regarding transfer provisions that lowered the threshold at which juveniles could be tried in criminal court and sentenced to adult prison (Snyder and Sickmund 1999). Furthermore, laws were enacted that allowed prosecutors and judges more discretion in their sentencing options; and confidentiality standards, which made juvenile court proceedings and records more available to the public (Snyder and Sickmund 1999), were reduced.
The United States prison population has grown seven-fold over the past forty years, and many Americans today tend to believe that the high levels of incarceration in our country stem from factors such as racism, socioeconomic differences, and drugs. While these factors have contributed to the incarceration rate present in our country today, I argue that the most important reason our country has such a high incarceration rate is the policy changes that have occurred since the 1970s. During this time, the United States has enacted policy changes that have produced an astounding rise in the use of imprisonment for social control. These policy changes were enacted in order to achieve greater consistency, certainty, and severity and include sentencing laws such as determinate sentencing, truth-in-sentencing, mandatory minimum sentencing, and three strikes laws (National Research Council 2014). Furthermore, I argue that mandatory sentencing has had the most significant effect on the incarceration rate.
After reading about the population of females in correction facilities, I came across the issue of incarcerating mothers. “Approximately 7 in 10 women under correctional sanction have minor children” (women offenders pg.7). Before reading this chapter, I have never put any importance to the challenge of sending mothers to prison. For the most part, I believe that judges and juries should consider the “motherhood” as a mitigating circumstance during a sentence. However, the age of the child and the crime should also play a role in the type of sentence given to a woman.
The United States’ ever-expanding prison and jail population has brought about many questions regarding the side-effects of mass incarceration, namely involving the effects on the children and families from which those incarcerated are removed. Regardless of the perspectives on the appropriate position of incarceration in the criminal justice system, imprisonment disrupts many positive and nurturing relationships between parents and their children. In fact, more than 1.7 million children have a parent who is incarcerated in a state or federal prison as of 2007 (Glaze & Maruschak, 2008). These youths are at risk for developing behavior and school problems in addition to insecure attachment relationships. Parental incarceration, which may also be coupled with economic disadvantage and inconsistent living arrangements (Geller, Garfinkel, Cooper, & Mincy, 2009) can be an extremely difficult experience for children. It should come as no surprise that families with children suffer economic strain and instability when a parent is imprisoned, considering how each parent in today’s world typically needs to set aside time to earn an income to support their family, and most are unable to support their homes on one income. While it may be considered intrusive to some to intervene in the lives of children and families with incarcerated parents, research has suggested that there are positive societal benefits to intervening in the lives of incarcerated parents and their
Today prisons are overcrowded and over two million Americans, male, and female are sitting in jail or prison, and two thirds of those people incarcerated are parents (U.S. Department of Justice). Approximately two million of these children are separated from their mom or dad because of incarceration of which these are the custodial parent. These children suffer from poverty, inconsistency in caregivers, separation from siblings, reduced education, increased risk for substance abuse, alcoholism and incarceration themselves.
Did you know, that in the United States alone, Over 200,000 children are charged and imprisoned every year as adults? Early in the 20th century, most states established juvenile courts to rehabilitate and not just punish youthful offenders. The system was designed for children to have a second chance at their lives. “A separate juvenile-justice system, which sought to rehabilitate and not just punish children, was part of a movement by progressives to create a legally defined adolescence through the passage of child-labor and compulsory education laws and the creation of parks and open spaces.”(How to reduce crime Pg 1) Although the view on juveniles committing brutal crimes is nearly inconceivable, it is not a solution to give juveniles adult consequences because the effects of the adult system on juveniles are not effective.
Over the last half-century, the United States has turned more and more frequently to the use of incarceration as a form of punishment. Sentencing policies and stricter laws requiring mandatory minimums for certain offenses, no matter the conditions of the offense, have boosted the incarceration rate in this country to staggering heights. The typical issues that affect America’s prison systems are reflected in Jennifer Gonnerman’s book, Life on the Outside: The Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett. Elaine Bartlett’s life, along with the lives of surrounding family and friends, is forever changed by her 16 years of incarceration. Elaine Bartlett is only one of many Americans that have been wronged by the cruel and unusual punishments implemented by a society claiming to have a fair, balanced, and equal justice system. A fair and balanced justice system that convicts people who carries the right amount of drugs in weight to have a mandatory incarceration for a minimum of 15 years to life, yet those who commit murder or rape may receive a lesser sentence. There is also the issue of transitioning back into society after being incarcerated for so many years. Incarceration does not just punish the offender; the offender’s family and friends are also negatively affected by the conviction and imprisonment of a loved one. Children could be put in the system or need to be raised by other members in the family. This could lead the children to deviate down the same path as their parent who
When someone’s parent is put into prison, a new issue is added to the many that are already on that person’s plate. This is illustrated well when Goffman says, “we’re asking kids who live in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods, who have the least amount of family resources, who attend the country’s worst schools… were asking these kids to walk the thinnest possible line to basically never do anything wrong”(How we’re). The kids who are dealing with many issues are slowly being crushed by all the issues they go through with one being added each moment. They only do the things that they do to survive and the judicial system is not helping because it seems to target these kids. J. Mark Eddy, a licensed Psychologist, and Jean Mollenkamp Kjellstrand, from Columba University, states that “The incarceration of a parent is not often the start of the problems for a child and family, but rather a continuation… characterized by poverty, social disadvantage, unstable home life, substance abuse difficulties, mental health problems, abuse, trauma, and community violence” (552). This is just saying when kids are put through all these difficulties, they are more likely to fill that hurt with drugs, hurting someone or themselves, crimes, and even suicide. All these things can cause emotional trauma because it was already hard enough to live happy then now their parent went to jail and just made it even tougher. It just seems as if weights are slowly being added to them until they can’t resist to do something illegal. Neglecting the kids that have parents that are in prison will only cause them to replace their parents when the time comes. According to Richard J. Coley, the director of the Educational Testing Service Center for Research on Human Capital and Education, and Paul E. Barton, an education writer and consultant, children who have a parent who is
Children of incarcerated parents are a vulnerable group in August 2000 The Bureau of Justice Statistics analyzed a 1997 survey of inmates in State and Federal Corre ctional Facilities to examine parenting stats of prisoners. The survey showed that
The purpose of the juvenile incarceration project is to gain insights into whether or not parental incarceration is related to juvenile incarceration. The research problem is the loss is the cost of incarceration to the state or society. Incarceration is expensive with costs to society for the crimes committed and the resulting confinement of the convicted offenders. This research hopes to diminish this problem by determining a correlation between juvenile offenders and whether or not their parents were previously or
Prison reform must be implicated for the general public to feel safe once again. Society has trained us from a very young age to believe that that anyone who committed a crime belongs in jail despite “recent studies find no correlation between incarceration and low crime rates” (Machelor). There has actually been more studies that has suggest children who are raised in homes where the parents has spent most of their lives in jails are five times more likely to grow up to commit similar crimes of their parents. This is especially true in poverty stricken areas where children will resort to petty crimes like their parents. Government officials should consider crimes that correlate to economic and social disadvantages in society and “create
Assessing the consequences of our country’s soaring imprison rates has less to do with the question of guilt versus innocence than it does with the question of who among us truly deserves to go to prison and face the restrictive and sometimes brutally repressive conditions found there. We are adding more than one thousand prisoners to our prison and jail systems every single week. The number of women in prisons and jails has reached a sad new milestone. As women become entangled with the war on drugs, the number in prison has increased if not double the rate of incarceration for men. The impact of their incarceration devastates thousands of children, who lose their primary caregiver when Mom goes to prison.
There is a direct relationship between juveniles that are convicted and held in adult prisons and the depression it inflicts, creating a poisonous cycle of crime that they will be unable to escape from. After an increase of murders committed by juveniles during the early 1980s and throughout the 1990s, a quick adjustment was made by the supreme court and state courts to increase the abilities of the law to condemn violent juveniles with bleak futures into adult prisons to protect the children who had more optimistic chances. While the protection of the less violent children is important, however, there has been a great many studies that prove it is not the wisest way of seeing the situation at large. Juveniles in prisons designed for their age groups create a sense of value to them as human beings, are generally safer, and are more focused on rehabilitation into society as young adults. Sentencing a juvenile to an adult prison leads to feelings of worthlessness, depression, alienation and a fearful environment where they are unsafe and more likely to be encouraged to further their crime abilities to survive in an adult world.
The United States leads the world in the incarceration of young people, there are over 100,000 youth placed in jail each year. Locking up youth has shown very little positive impact on reducing crime. Incarcerating youth have posed greater problems such as expenses, limited education, lack of employment, and effect on juveniles’ mental and physical well-being.
The research method used for this study was a survey distributed as a self-report questionnaire. Data were collected by giving the questionnaire to 3,065 male and female adolescents attending grades 7 through 12 in three midwestern states. The sample design consisted of two parts. First, schools were chosen within a participating school district, which was representative for size and location within the area. Second, two or three classrooms per grade level were chosen among the general enrollment classes. A small subset was also added from applicants who volunteered from the districts who were interviewed a few weeks before the questionnaire was administered (Akers, Lanza-Kaduce, & Radiosevich, 1979).