Should Violent Juvenile Offenders be tried as Adults?

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I am interested in juvenile crime as part of deepening my knowledgein criminology. More specifically, I intend to make an inquiry intowhether violent juvenile criminals should be tried as adults. Therehave been reported cases of juveniles engaging in violent crimes andeven causing the death of innocent people. Some people believe thatthe violent juveniles offenders should face the same trial reservedfor adults to ensure that they face a tough punishment andcomprehensive rehabilitation. However, others feel that the juvenileoffenders should not be subject to adult trial and punishmentregardless of their crime. To determine whether this form of trial isappropriate or injurious to the life of the juvenile offenders, Iwill review the relevant literature and make inferences from thediscussions and findings of different authors.

The rationale for conducting this research is that there has been agrowing concern over the crimes committed by against innocent peopleby juveniles. The gravity of these violent crimes is not differentfrom the ones committed by the adults. Although the effects andimplication of the crimes conducted by the adults and children aresimilar, the juveniles undergo a different process of trial andpunishment. To clear the gray areas on the appropriateness of thiscontroversy, the literature will serve as instrumental tools formaking informed conclusions.

Why are you interested in researching this particular topic?

First, juvenile violent crimes have been on the increase in therecent past. Although the average rate of juvenile crimes has beengradually decreasing, the number of crimes that result in fatalinjuries through the use of crude and illegal weapons have become amedia limelight. The suffering of innocent and unsuspecting people atthe hands of irresponsible ad delinquent children has aggravated thecitizens’ agitation. Therefore, addressing the issue will bring toright the number of cases in the country and the view of differentpeople on the topic.

I am also interested in this topic because I want to understand threeaspects that surround juvenile trial, punishment, and rehabilitation.The three perspectives include legal, psychological and social. Iwould like to understand the legal provisions for trying thejuveniles in their respective courts and the legal implications ofhaving to try them as adults. Also, I would like to understand theimplication of the trail to their psychological development and thesocial implication of the process.

Secondly, there has been a concern over the trial process thatjuvenile offenders are subject to by the department of justice. Thosewho have not attained the legal age may not face adult trails due tothe nature of their development process and special rehabilitation.The implications of the crimes committed by both children and adultshave similar implications for the society. The less grave crimescommitted by children do not attract a lot of public outcries sincethey are pardoned because of their age and vulnerable to influence.Grave crimes, however, result in the citizens working baying for theserious trial of the juveniles to ensure that face punishment justlike adults. I am interested in this topic because I will be in aposition to understand the viability or inability of the juveniletrail system in punishing and rehabilitating violent juvenileoffenders.

How does this topic relate to criminal justice?

Criminal justice involves the scientific study of nature, extent,management, causes, control, consequences, and prevention of criminalbehavior. The topic seeks to understand whether it is appropriate tosubject juveniles to an adult trial. The topic relates to criminologyin that it will be an inquiry into the best method of controlling thebehavior as well as the consequences of the method in eradicatingviolent crime in the society. Criminology observes the implication ofcriminal procedures on the society as well on the behavior of theculprits. It is, therefore, instrumental in advising policy making. Ibelieve that without the application of empirical evidence on theeffects of taking violent teenagers through the adult trail system,there is a possibility of arriving at decisions based on the feelingin the society. Most people are bitter with the aggressions committedthe juvenile offenders on innocent and unsuspecting citizens.However, would subject them to adult trial reduce the rate of violentcrime or rehabilitate them fully or would interfere with theirdevelopment and expose them to an environment that is not convenientfor their age? To answer these questions, the principles ofcriminology will fall into application.

What are your specific research questions?

In this research, I will answer the following questions.

1. What is the rate of violent crimes committed by juvenileoffender?

2. Should violent juvenile offenders be tried as adults?

3. What is the implication of trying juvenile offenders in theadult trial system?

How will you investigate this topic using secondary data sources?

The secondary data sources will provide information on the rate andgravity of the violent crimes committed by juvenile offenders. I willconduct a thorough review of what the law provides for the trial ofjuveniles. The federal law provides for the crime for the trial ofboth the adults and children. I will also look at what the childrenlaw says about the trial of various crimes and the punishment theyshould receive. I will also use the secondary data sources to getinformation on what various scholars detail about the trail ofchildren as adults. I will include the information compiled fromvarious professional including sociologists, lawyers, policy makers,psychologists and children’s rights bodies.

Apart from reviewing information from different authors, I will drawcurrent statistics from the justice department, the office of justiceand delinquency prevention, Violent Youth Crimes, Bureau of JusticeStatistics and National Juvenile Justice Networks.

How will the research contribute to scholarly literature?

First, the rate of violent juvenile crimes in America is on the rise.However, the few scholars interested in the topic have discussed theissue from a non-partisan point of view. Most of the availableliterature inclines to one side of the argument. However, a fewauthors approach the issue from a legal, psychological or a socialpoint of view. While their information will be primary in building myresearch paper, the final piece will be comprehensive since it willmake its conclusion by drawing from the findings and conclusions ofthe different authors. It will, therefore, contribute to thescholarly research and act as a reference for other researchers.Trying children in adult courts due to the nature of the crimes theycommit is a rather controversial issue. The research will show whythe method is appropriate or unacceptable depending on the availabledata and evidence from scholarly articles.


Bechtold, J., &ampCauffman, E. (2014). Tried as an adult, housed as a juvenile: A taleof youth from two courts incarcerated together. Law and humanbehavior, 38(2), 126.

Hahn, R., McGowan,A., Liberman, A., Crosby, A., Fullilove, M., Johnson, R., &ampStone, G. (2007). Effects on violence of laws and policiesfacilitating the transfer of youth from the juvenile to the adultjustice system. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 56,1-11.

Kruh, I. P., Frick,P. J., &amp Clements, C. B. (2005). Historical and personalitycorrelates to the violence patterns of juveniles tried as adults.Criminal Justice and Behavior, 32(1), 69-96.

Redding, R. E.(2003). The Effects Of Adjudicating And Sentencing Juveniles AsAdults Research and Policy Implications. Youth Violence andJuvenile Justice, 1(2), 128-155.

Redding, R. E.(2008). Juvenile transfer laws: An effective deterrent todelinquency? Juvenile Justice Bulletin, August.