Life Have the Ability Term Paper

Pages: 10 (2748 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

This research compared the recidivism rates of 2,738 juvenile offenders transferred to criminal court in Florida with a matched sample of non-transferred juveniles. Bishop and her colleagues found that although juveniles tried as adults were more likely to be incarcerated, and incarcerated for longer than those who remained in the juvenile system, they also had a higher recidivism rate. Within two years, they were more likely to re-offend, to re-offend earlier, to commit more subsequent offenses, and to commit more serious subsequent offenses than juveniles retained in the juvenile system. The authors concluded that: "The findings suggest that transfer made little difference in deterring youths from re-offending. Adult processing of youths in criminal court actually increases recidivism rather than [having] any incapacitative effects on crime control and community protection."

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III. COLLECTION OF LITERATURE variety of methods were utilized to collect data regarding this issue. First, traditional methods of data collection and literature review were utilized in the form of visiting the university library and conducting a search of the pertinent databases. Upon obtaining the results of the search, relevant journals and periodicals were retrieved and examined to determine their relevancy. Those journals and periodicals that were pertinent were photocopied and the information contained therein is utilized in this essay. Next, research was conducted online utilizing common search engines (Google and Yahoo primarily) as well as commonly used online databases such as Infotrac and Lexis-Nexis. Those articles and other data that were relevant were examined and the information contained therein is utilized in this essay. No fieldwork was conducted in accumulating literature related to this issue.


Term Paper on Life Have the Ability (and Assignment

The issue of juvenile offenders is highly broad and must be narrowed in order to have a reasonable and intelligent research question and paper. For example, some issues relating to juvenile offenders include the effectiveness (or lack of effectiveness) of traditional and alternative techniques used to punish juvenile offenders, what causes juveniles to commit crimes (especially violent crimes like parental murders or school shootings), whether juveniles should be tried as adults, etc. Due to this fact, the focus of this research is whether juvenile offenders should be tried as adults. Conducting this research offered several invaluable lessons, primarily enhanced understanding of the unique issues relating to juvenile offenders as well as the problems that exist in trying juvenile offenders as adults. Likewise, further insight into why the issue of crime in general (as well as juvenile crime) is so difficult to eliminate or at least develop a proven tool that "works" for all (or most) criminals was obtained.

There are a multitude of social forces operating concerning juvenile offenders and whether juveniles should tried as adults. Numerous examples of the most common social forces that operate regarding juvenile crime abound. For instance, there is confusion over how to resolve crime and fear of crime in general. Likewise, there is disappointment over youth seemingly becoming increasingly "lost" and a lack of understanding over what causes individuals to commit crime and how to address these factors before the crime occurs. Additionally, and most commonly, there is the need for politicians to maintain a "get tough" stance against the "war" on crime.

There are numerous areas to be changed or modified in the criminal justice system and its handling of offenders, both adult and juvenile. First, while the historical "get tough on crime" attitude regarding crime makes for good television and helps politicians get re-elected, to date, it has yet to eliminate or even result in a uniform answer to crime and its multifaceted causes. Next, with respect to juveniles, there is a double-edged sword, i.e., should the criminal justice system continue to focus on rehabilitation or move towards a "one size fits all" system. By treating juvenile offenders as adults, society and politicians are giving up their responsibilities to nurture young minds, to instill the idealism in juveniles that adults once possessed themselves. Likewise, there needs to be a line on attempting to rehabilitate juvenile offenders; otherwise, juveniles will arguably continue committing crimes out of a belief that they will get minimal or no punishment.


Few issues in life have the ability (and actually do) impact each and every member of society. Crime is one such issue that crosses economic, ethnic, political, religious, and social backgrounds. One reason why crime is such a paramount issue in modern society is that it impacts individuals emotionally, financially, physically, etc. And instills a deep-rooted sense of fear in those who have been victimized. In addition, while there are a multitude of explanations for why individuals (both adults and juveniles) commit crime, no single reason explains the entire complex economic, emotional, psychological, and sociological facets associated with this issue.

In recent years, there have been numerous high profile cases involving juvenile offenders. Some of the most common yet horrifying examples of such crimes include the Columbine shootings (as well as many other school shootings involving teenagers), group killings of teachers as well as peers, etc. Not only have the number of crimes involving juvenile offenders reached new highs, but also the level of violence associated with such crimes has magnified. In response to the perceived skyrocketing in juvenile crime, states throughout the country have passed a variety of measures to send more juvenile offenders to criminal court. Common features of such legislation include: lowering the age at which juveniles may be prosecuted as adults; greatly expanding the categories of crimes for which juveniles are automatically prosecuted in criminal court; giving prosecutors the exclusive authority to decide which juveniles are charged as adults; and limiting the discretion of judges to overturn decisions by law enforcement officials and prosecutors.

The issue of juvenile crime in general and more narrowly the issue of whether juvenile offenders should be tried as adults is a double-edged sword. Historically our criminal justice system has encouraged law enforcement officials and prosecutors to focus on rehabilitation when it comes to juvenile offenders. The reason was that law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and researchers believed that youths often make mistakes and are more able to learn and re-train their behavior than adult offenders who are often more jaded and violent. Over the past decade, crime has risen to the forefront and politicians and individuals have called for tougher sentences for juvenile offenders. Numerous high-profile cases (generally school shootings) involving juveniles have resulted in juveniles being tried as adults and receiving stiffer penalties. However, the decision to prosecute a juvenile offender as an adult has momentous consequences for the individual involved, with the juvenile offender frequently being confined with the general adult inmate population, arguably increasing the likelihood of recidivism since the juvenile offender will be exposed to "new" crimes as well as techniques for avoiding punishment. Additional legislation, policy review, and research must be undertaken in order to ensure that juvenile offenders are not inappropriately and unnecessarily being swept up into the adult criminal justice system.


Juszkieicz, Jolanta. "Youth Crime/Adult Time: Is Justice Served?" Retrieved at On November 9, 2002.

Steinberg, Laurence. "Should Juvenile Offenders be Tried as Adults?" Retrieved at On November 9, 2002.

Frontline: Juvenile Justice: Stats: Does Treating Kids Like Adults Make a Difference?" Retrieved at on November 9, 2002.

Should Juveniles be Tried as Adults?/Miller & Assoc." Retrieved at November 9, 2002.


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How to Cite "Life Have the Ability" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Life Have the Ability.  (2002, November 11).  Retrieved September 18, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Life Have the Ability."  11 November 2002.  Web.  18 September 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Life Have the Ability."  November 11, 2002.  Accessed September 18, 2020.