The Juvenile Justice System For Juveniles

1397 WordsNov 20, 20146 Pages
Early in U.S. history, children who broke the law were treated the same as adult criminals. If you are a young person under the age of 18 and you commit a crime, you will have your case heard in the juvenile justice system. The thing is that, it hasn’t always gone that way. The idea of a separate justice system for juveniles is just over one hundred years old (American Bar). Where did juvenile justice come from? The law was in the image of the common law of England. William Blackstone, Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, first published in the late 1760s, was admired by the United States founders. There was an important section in Blackstone’s publication. It identified individuals who weren’t capable of committing a crime. Two things needed to happen to hold someone accountable for a crime. First, the person had the intent to commit a crime. Second, the person had to commit an unlawful act. If there wasn’t enough intent or act, no crime was committed. A main group identified that couldn’t commit a crime were “infants” or children too young to understand their actions. There had to be a line drawn between infants and adults. Children under seven were seen as infants who couldn’t be guilty of a major crime. Children over 14 could be tried as adults if found guilty of a crime. The ages of seven and fourteen was a gray area because a child in this age range would be seen as incapable of committing a crime. If, however, it appeared that the child understood the
Open Document