Punishment Vs. Rehabilitation; Youth Offenders

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Punishment vs. Rehabilitation; Youth Offenders 2.3 million - that is the number of persons under the age of 18 that are generally arrested by police every year in the United States. Many more cases go either unreported by citizens or unfounded by the police. But with all those arrests less than one-half of one percent (.5 percent of youth ages 10-17) are arrested for a violent crime according to the the FBI. With that, the overall crime rates and youth crime rates in particular are dropping. Even with these numbers though to support the decrease in crime recent news reports forecast "an epidemic of violent crime by youth." These predictions have led some to theorize about a new breed of 'youth criminals': superpredators. Described by the Chicago Tribune and Newsweek, superpredators are characterized as violent youth with no sense of right or wrong.

With these two separate ideas of what is happening to the youths in our country there has been a debate sparked about what we do with these offenders when something happens.

Do we rehabilitate or punish the offender? Our Juvenile system in our country is roughly 100 years old. Since the system's introduction, it has had a more positive outlook on what youths in trouble can become. The belief is that these youths can be rehabilitated and taught to see that which is wrong with what they have been brought up with and shown in life. This belief is based on the theory that youths do not know the difference between reality and fantasy and that, consequently, they cannot distinguish between right and wrong. Our current system is based upon the English system that was established in order to re-teach values and morals to the young, rehabilitate them, and give them a second chance for life. With...