Thesis: Cycle of Juvenile Justice

Sample Thesis Paper

The creation of a separate legal institution to judge the moral and immoral behavior of our youth did not exist until the early 1800s. There was a time when youths were subjected to the same laws and due process as adults and when found guilty, dealt the same punishment. Today’s Juvenile justice system is one which has been created through decades of debate, social and political actions and economic concerns (Elrod & Ryder, 2005). The question became what was the best way to deal with these youth and rehabilitate them?

That very question led to Thomas J. Bernard recognizing a pattern which made up the cycle of juvenile justice. This pattern considers two opposing viewpoints; one is that delinquency is a cry for aid from youths who are trapped in environments which may be construed as abusive or neglectful to them. This view finds that the only way to treat these youths is to help them focus their energies therapeutically. The second viewpoint is that juveniles are a subsection of the population who do not adhere to the same social norms as other people and thus the only way to deal with them is through harsher punishments. Bernard believed that it was due to the alternating cycles these two viewpoints represent today’s youth will continue to be trapped in a system which cannot help them (Bernard, 1991). This paper will ask whether there is a way to break the cycle or is history doomed to repeat itself.

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