Juvenile justice

Essay by steve millerUniversity, Master'sA+, February 1997

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To many Americans today, the country is a hostage-but not from oversea terrorism as

one might expect to think. No today, we live in fear from our own children; and these are the

same young people who we are entrusting the future of this great country with. According to

the Department of Justice report released in November, thirty-eight percent of those arrested

for weapons offenses in 1995 were under the age of eighteen (Curriden 66). In the same

report, the Bureau of Justice Statistics stated that in 1995 3 out of every 100

eighteen-year-olds was arrested for weapons offenses. A rate three times higher than for

males twenty-five to twenty-nine and five times higher than for males thirty to thirty-four (66).

Just weeks later the FBI released a report indicating that arrests for youths under eighteen

increased by seven percent in 1996 (66). In light of these disturbing statistics, it may not be

surprising that the general public is starting to believe its children are getting meaner and

more violent.

The media, politicians and the American public want something done, and they

want it done now. Right now we are beginning to relize that if the situation looks bleak now,

it could deteriorate even more in the future. The U.S. Census projects that the juvenile

population, reported to be 27.1 million in 1994, will rise to 33.8 million by the year 2004 (67).

At the heart of this controversy: the juvenile justice system. For the past several years

the system has been under attack by every one from state legislatures to parenteen groups.

Our solution to the rising juvenile crime problem- to get tougher. According to a recent USA

Today/CNN/Gallup Poll, 60 percent of Americans believe that a teenager convicted of murder

should get the death penalty (ollson48). In response...