The Case For An Adolescent Justice System

An essay advocating against the current system of juvenile justice in the United States with a particular emphasis on the State of California.


The Constitution of the United States was meant to protect and defend, not to punish. In fact, the Bill of Rights was designed specifically to ensure protection for anyone on American soil who is accused of having committed a crime, regardless of age, race, or sexual orientation. But just how well does the system accomplish that goal? This paper will focus on juvenile criminal justice, specifically in the State of California. I will provide an overview of how juvenile criminal justice is currently handled in California in regards to juvenile crime prevention, rehabilitative efforts, and costs. I aim to show why there is a need to legally distinguish between children who are fully dependent on their parents and adolescents in their puberty ages.

By distinguish, I refer to creating a separate court system with different sentencing guidelines. I will show, through multiple studies and researchers’ findings, the inherent differences in how children and puberty-aged adolescents behave, process risk, and are susceptible to peer pressure. Based on these differences I will explain why it is necessary to create a separate justice system for puberty-aged adolescents that assigns guilt fairly based on the principle of proportionality, which I discuss more in depth later. Ultimately, I hope to provide new insight and inspire progressive change in the way we think and rethink about juvenile and adolescent justice.

Click here: The Case For An Adolescent Justice System

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