American Criminal Justice System Effects On Youth

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In America's Criminal Justice System there are many faults, from racism, sexism or mistreatment of the incarcerated, there is one issue stands prominent to others. That is the terrifying violence that affects our youth. From very young ages, children are put into situations where they have to fight for their own lives because of the color of their skin or where they live. This deeply affects the future of our country and further generations after. Sadly, the criminal justice system has not only failed these children but continues to let them suffer and become victims of murder and drug-related crimes. Though this issue is not new and has been going on for several decades. It has not only seemed to have gotten more violent but even more deathly for the poor victims put in this painful never-ending cycle.

Strong increases in juvenile aggression have boosted individual risk endured by those residing in urban environments and have made a serious contribution to the prevalent crime rate in general. This fear derives from the unpredictability and the seriousness of youth crime. Throughout 1985 to 1992, the frequency of victimization of juvenile homicides, and the rates of murders committed by 15/16 year-olds increased by more than 100%. Furthermore, the incarceration rate for drug-related offenses of non-white youths doubled. More often, public panic goes past safety worries and dives into an area of hateful stereotypes and actions towards the youth of color.

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As previously mentioned, these crimes against involving young adults in America are not a new problem for our society, but there was a defining moment that destroyed the lives of many. In 1985, crack cocaine became popular in the streets of inner-city areas. It changed the behaviors of illicit drug buying and allocation. The number of transactions significantly increased as people bought and sold one 'hit' at a time, rather than larger doses.

To satisfy the growing volume of transactions, youths are drafted into the illegal drug trade, mainly African Americans. Since they could not receive help or protection from the police, the new 'recruits' wanted weapons to defend themselves and their 'precious resources'. Their close communication by school systems and the streets resulted in a wider range of firearms into the greater youthful community, mainly for self-defense but also for status. These illegal crimes were made easier because of the federal courts and jury’s refusal to realize the problem they have to continue to let happen.

Many of the concepts on which the juvenile court process was based were invalidated by federal courts. Some criticized the whole juvenile justice system, accusing it of dealing primarily with the uncontrollable rather than any real danger to society. Massachusetts, for example, closed some institutions in the 1970s and replaced them with group homes. They believed that there would be a reduction in adult crime if troublemakers could be prevented from cultivating into criminals. Though are these juveniles truly to blame for their crimes? Where does the line get drawn between individual and social, how can the system, police and the government be held accountable for their part in these actions?

These crimes have social causations, that result from unemployment, poverty or high population in a small area. Very few times, a criminal might be put into rehabilitation and given a chance for a better future, though real changes come from social improvement. These can be removing people from the “ghetto” or “projects”, helping the poor and solving unemployment. Though governments and law enforcement do not agree with this way of change because it suggests that they are to blame and can do nothing but contain the issue, instead of actually solving it or protecting those affected.

In conclusion, America’s youth is largely affected by their surroundings. Simple parts of their lives, such as location and wealth, can change who and how they live their lives forever. While the government is to blame, they take no responsibility to help and the system of criminal justice has continuously failed them. Until they can admit their fault the blood of thousands of young children and adults will be on their hands.

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American Criminal Justice System Effects On Youth. (2021, August 24). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
“American Criminal Justice System Effects On Youth.” Edubirdie, 24 Aug. 2021,
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