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Should Juveniles Be Tried as Adults: Analysis of Negative Outcomes

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What is juvenile delinquency? Juvenile delinquency is defined as “the habitual committing of criminal acts or offenses by a young person, especially one below the age at which ordinary criminal prosecution is possible.” or simply a minor committing a crime, the epidemic we are seeing is these minors being tried as full grown adults, the difference between these adults and juveniles is the adults know more, and in some cases this kids don’t know the difference between right and wrong. To reiterate a current issue in our justice system that is prevalent is minors being tried as adults, this is an issue because minor are being thrown in jail with adults and minors may not be at the same place mentally as these adults because they haven’t lived the same amount.

According to an estimated 250,000 youth are tried, sentenced, or incarcerated as adults every year across the United States. In June, a 14-year-old boy was arrested after he threw a rock at police during a political rally in New Mexico. Prosecutors stated that the boy, who was charged with two felonies, would be tried as an adult. A police spokesperson stated, “We don’t want to make an example out of a 14-year-old boy. We want to guide him and lead him in the right direction.” The boy’s attorney disagreed, however, asserting that trying his client as an adult “would indicate a completely different scenario than the one where they’re not trying to destroy this child.”

If they were to try this child as an adult they would completely destroy his future because it will be on his record forever which can prohibit him from certain jobs, also take away years that are crucial for his development according to Teenage Brain Development their brains are already about 90-95% of adult size. But the brain still needs a lot of remodelling before it can function as an adult brain. This brain remodelling happens intensively during adolescence, continuing into your child’s mid-20s, so if you stick this child in a potentially dangerous situation is can hurt them more than it can benefit them. The procedure for a juvenile to be tried as a juvenile starts with this, a crime is committed by a juvenile and investigated like any other crime. After the crime is reported, the crew of officer will do an investigation to figure out if there is ample proof to show that the juvenile committed the crime. If the officer/team of officers believes that there is ample evidence, a report will be despatched to the County Attorney’s Office or a citation may be issued.

Next, the County Attorney’s team of workers will seem over the facts and then decide whether or not the evidence helps charges, and, if so, file charges. In some situations, a juvenile may also be taken into custody and detained. The police officer may launch the juvenile to the custody of a mother or father or guardian, location the juvenile in a shelter care facility, or proceed the detention. The regulation requires that a juvenile be released from detention except in extreme occasions. A juvenile, pre-trial hearing and trial happens in the county where the crime was committed. At the arraignment hearing, the juvenile will appear in court docket and be requested to ‘admit’ or ‘deny’ the offense alleged in the petition. In some jurisdictions, the choose may additionally order a pretrial hearing to decide issues of law before trial. Citizen witnesses are typically not referred to testify at these hearings. In most cases, juvenile trials are held before the judge. However, in some situations a juvenile can request a jury trial.

Once the juvenile is convicted by way of a judge or jury (or enters an admission), a disposition listening to is scheduled. The judge has many options, which includes a warning, restitution, fines, community service, probation, foster care, out-of-home placement, or detention. In some situations if the crime the juvenile commits is sufficient then they will be tried as an adult the method begins comparable to them being tried as a juvenile they will first commit the crime the officers will investigate, the whole process will remain the same until trial, if the courtroom decides they want to try the juvenile as an adult then they will have a waiver that removes the juvenile from that court to adult court, when this happens the court will focus on a punishment instead of an option for rehabilitation. We can see in one case that was covered in chapter six of ‘’Brian Stevenson’s’’ Just Mercy a little boy just fourteen and his mother were home when the mother’s boyfriend came home drunk.

The boyfriend than began to beat the boys mother so bad that the boy thought she was dead. The boyfriend who was also a police officer when to their bedroom and decided to sleep, the young boy followed and new they kept a gun in the bedside table he looked at the gun and thought “I could figure it out” he then shot the boyfriend in the head. Fast forward the boy was tried and convicted as an adult and thrown in jail with other adults. The first night he was incarcerated he was raped and beaten by 3 other inmates, and this continued to happen during his stay in the prison. This is just one of many examples of the harms of putting a child in a jail with adults, because there’s so much potential harm that can occur during the stay. To conclude, The research that I have provided not only proves the dangers of incarcerating minors with adults but I also provide the process and the difference between being tried as an adult while being a juvenile and also being tried as a juvenile as a juvenile. The justice system is a crucial role in our society and it is know to be unfair and along with providing information about what happens when a child is tried as an adult.

Work Cited

  1. “Should Juveniles Be Charged as Adults in the Criminal Justice System?” American Bar Association,
  2. “Brain Development: Teenagers.” Raising Children Network, 11 Dec. 2017, Michon, Kathleen.
  3. “Juvenile Delinquency: What Happens in a Juvenile Case?”, Nolo, 20 May 2014,
  4. “When Juveniles Are Tried in Adult Criminal Court: Why Adolescents Should Not Be Tried as an Adult-Disaster Preparedness.”, 28 Nov. 2017,
  5. Baldwin, Lauren. “Who Decides to Try a Juvenile as an Adult?”, Nolo, 16 Sept. 2013,
  6. “Should Juveniles Be Charged as Adults in the Criminal Justice System?” American Bar Association,
  7. “Juvenile Delinquency: Definition of Juvenile Delinquency by Lexico.” Lexico Dictionaries | English, Lexico Dictionaries, Ha, Thu-Huong.
  8. “How America’s Justice System Failed Our Children.”,, 14 Dec. 2015,

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