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Differing Views of the Juvenile Justice System

The juvenile justice system continues to evolve and separate juveniles from adults. With any evolution, there is always resistance to change, and, some can even say, fear of the unknown. According to Dharmbir Rai Sharma (n.d.), from a psychological perspective there is a kinship between fear and darkness: “Darkness implies ignorance in the sense that we cannot see anything, so we do not know what lies in there. This is perhaps the reason for a very widespread use of the phrase ‘fear of the unknown'” (para. 3).

Resistance comes with hesitancies when it comes to changing the way juveniles are adjudicated, treated, rehabilitated, et cetera. There could be deliberations on their placement (adult prison or juvenile detention facilities), treatment (if they could be rehabilitated), to name a few. There is always controversy over whether or not juveniles should be treated as adults.

For this discussion, read the following case vignette and answer the questions below. Use information from professional sources to support your thinking.

Chris has a significant delinquent history, including theft of property, breaking and entering, possession with intention to distribute, and domestic violence. Chris is 18 and is a few credits shy of obtaining his high school diploma. His probation officer knows that Chris has the potential to do well; however, he is easily influenced by the wrong crowd of delinquent peers/friends. Chris is currently charged with possession of a firearm, and the district attorney wants to charge him as an adult. His probation officer and attorney want him adjudicated as a juvenile and sent to a rehabilitation facility, as rehabilitation has not been a part of his treatment in the past.

What are some conflicts that may occur between law professionals and psychology professionals when it comes to juvenile defendants?
What case would you make for Chris from the point of view of a legal professional, or what case would you make from the point of view of a mental health professional?

Use no less than 2 sources


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