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When discussing the "serious, aggressive, habitual juvenile criminal who perpetrates the act of murder," we should try to obtain some common level of agreement as to who it is we are speaking of. There are those that see grave criminals, aggressive criminals and habitual criminals as individual types (Grant, 2006). In this discussion, we are referring to the type of person who possesses all three characteristics, it would appear then that we are speaking about some new type of youth offender.
If you browse the papers, spend time in front of television or listen to politicians you will consider that someway genetics and culture have joined forces over the years to create a new type of juvenile: a kid who rapes and robs and kills with impunity, with abandon, and has fun doing it. This kind of kid seems to be totally indifferent towards any established alternative offered. This, however is an excuse to some degree. The children we hear about today, whose headlines show up in the papers, on the internet, and on T.V. and radio are the same types of kids who existed a decade ago, generations ago, even a hundred years ago (Vachss, 2002).
So, what "kid" am I referring to? Who is this kid? What are his characteristics? (And when I say "his," visibly there are female delinquents who also fit within this category (Vachss, 2002). So far, their statistics are comparatively small so there's been little concentrate on them. So when I use the word "his" or "he," picture in your mind that the words are somewhat exchangeable with "her" and "she"). This kid is typified by a complete lack of seeming compassion for other human beings. There is no other pain felt but his own. This is the kind of kid who will murder three people on different times for no clear reason, commit a subway mugging, do a push-in robbery, and blow someone away because they "looked at him mistakenly." (Vachss, 2002) He will show no remorse, and then come into the office of an institution just infuriated, veins bulging out of his neck, sweat rolling off his brow, eyes wild, disjointed almost to the point of tears ... all because someone broke his radio. And he'll see no inconsistency whatsoever. He merely does not feel anyone's pain but his own. This is an erudite reaction. People are not born like this. (Patrick-Ewing, 2002)
The second characteristic is a lack of a perceived future. He does not have one. If you were to ask this kid, "What are you going to be doing next year?" you will get a totally blank stare. Not because he's brainless, but because of his inability to conceptualize such a gap from the present. If you want to converse with a kid like this, you must speak within his context of time, and that time frame is never any further than a few hours from now (Vachss, 2002).
This kid cannot recognize the relationship between his behavior and the consequences of his actions. He does not see a contributory link between his acts and a reaction. This child views life as a game of chance. Everyone rolls the dice, but not everybody pays to play. He has no acuity as to how the numbers will fall (Vachss, 2002). In his world, everyone perpetrate offenses. Some smaller ratio of that number is detained. A still smaller ratio goes to court; an even smaller ratio goes to trial. A smaller ratio still are really found culpable (or "adjudicated delinquent" if you prefer), and a smaller ratio of that group are sentenced to a youth authority. Finally, an even smaller ratio is actually imprisoned (Vachss, 2002).
For all the assumption and question about why kids commit such violent acts, the responses are surprisingly not that much different from what we have learned about adults who murder. With few exceptions, teenagers are just as able of knowing that what they did was incorrect.
As with adults, some teenagers kill because they are recurrently violent, cold and unsympathetic. Some will murder because they "explode" in reaction to a history of "over-controlled enmity." Some will react after sulking in the emotions of pain and anger and after cultivation of ancient resentments. Others murder because they have been disturbed and are incapable to tolerate their existence. Some who are young and egotistic become "obsessed." Disadvantaged of love or enjoyment, they feel vindicated while increasing to aggression. Less common, but often more dramatic are the killings committed by the psychotic, those with traumatized and chaotic thoughts and only a tenuous grasp on reality. (Patrick-Ewing, 2002)
Nowadays, the region legal representative can take most juveniles accused with killing directly to adult court. Before the law changed about 5 years ago, teenagers habitually underwent wide mental examination before a judge would make a decision whether to try them as an adult or as a child. An additional assessment was needed before a teenager convicted as an adult could be sentenced to an adult jail. (Silverstein, 2007)
A mental interview gives inimitable insights into the psychological, emotive and motivational dynamics of the criminal. Normally, it is the only period that the full story is told in complete detail, from the criminal's viewpoint, and with their feelings, beliefs and perceptions disclosed. Rarely in the justice process will the criminal ever fully map out what was going on in their head and how they viewed reality when they pulled the trigger or struck the fatal blow. Their viewpoint is not readily shared with the state attorney or the court, and may not be exposed to their own defense team. Often times, in a mental interview, what the criminal says is not enough to describe the inspiration for their activities. In other cases, criminals will give sufficient enough information for us to decide whether the story should be explained as an instance of evil or an instance of tragedy. (Grant, 2006)
We know that the young tend to involve themselves in more high-risk behaviors of all kinds. The study proposes that a recognizable typecast about kids is likely not true. Researches show that adolescents do not really tend to view themselves as invincible or invulnerable, any more so than adults (Grant, 2006). Instead, kids are more likely to behave as if they are unbeatable because of childishness, impulsivity and bad judgment.
Lacking experience and being less mindful of requirements, responsibilities and consequences, they can show unresponsiveness to risk and a sense of heroism that facilitates unsafe behavior. Principles, attitudes and thinking also translate to aggression. Many youth have learned or come to believe that violence is a lawful way for solving several interpersonal issues and conflicts encountered in life. When aggravated, they fight back or attack, never thoughts that a simple act of battery might have a deadly result. (Anne-Davis, 2004)
The protection of respect regularly interrelates with group dynamics. There are many reasons for why teenagers gather in groups, showing off the attitudes and behaviors of gang culture, regardless of whether they are organized, sophisticated and carry criminal purpose. In a group, even slackly formed, individuals may involve in extreme behaviors that they might never have undertaken on their own. The marvel results from a "dispersal of accountability" (Grant, 2006). In a crowd, people often abandon self-control and cave to impulses because no one feels individually to blame. Aggression in protection of the respect of the group is a common theme.
There is a last component that can turn a simple confrontation into a deadly encounter. That is the ownership of a weapon. A commonly heard theme: The gun or knife was just for defense. Rarely does an adolescent admit that the gun made them feel influential, but it is often obvious that the weapon was carried for its emotional value, rather than for its use as a tool. And then, in response to some situation, the impulse and bad judgment come into play and the weapon is used. (Anne-Davis, 2004)
Patterns despite, what has been established is that every case is dissimilar. A psychologist's purpose is to describe, not to judge. In replying to the threat of aggression, the worst thing that we can do as a society is to fail to realize precisely what occurred in any specific case (Anne-Davis, 2004). Sometimes we ignore facts out of fear that and clarification will be offered as an excuse. If we rely upon our preconceived ideas about the causes of aggression, rather than listening to what a specific person was thoughts and feeling at that specific moment, we will fail to learn what is most significant: How do we as a society defend ourselves from aggression? (Anne-Davis, 2004)
So why should we lend concern to this kid? The experts in the field, in a very self-reassuring way, say that this kid represents only a miniscule portion of the adolescent population. A minority within a minority, is how it may appear (Vachss, 2002). People draw pictures that show us this kid is perhaps just one percent of the whole mixed bag of juveniles. There are those undoubtedly who believe, "We don't have any such kids.
There's a reason to care. First, these kids have an unequal impact on crime in any community. Allen Breed has quoted some frightening figures. He has said that 22 percent of all aggressive offense was committed by people less than 18 years of age (Vachss, 2002). But he didn't say that 24 percent of all offenders are fewer than eighteen. And the fact is that each and every one of these kids is a crime wave, even if they are very few. (Grant, 2006)
In Professor Wolfgang's famous "Cohort Study" he found that about 6 percent of all adolescent in his research were responsible for 66 percent of repetitive aggressive offense (Vachss, 2002). These juveniles have a percussive impact on communities and are therefore highly visible. The storyline of these kids are often taken advantage of by local politicians. Officials have been voted into office on the tales of a few aggressive kids (Flowers, 2002). The public desperately needs to believe that there's an injection and a pill that will prevent criminal behavior. Sadly, these children have served as stepping stones for officials. What good is it to pass laws offering Draconian results for the kids engaged in such violent behavior everyday when nothing is being done to prevent the acts itself?
Children have not forever received particular remedy in the offender justice system. Previous to 1899, there were no adolescent courts and a 12-year-old child accused with murder would be attempted in an adult court, found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging, the most general punishment. The children who were not sentenced to death were placed in harsh penitentiaries with adult offenders, where they learned more effective methods of offense and often became the victims of other offenses. Lots of these children were destitute and homeless and they committed offenses such as robbery to survive. (Silverstein, 2007)
Public shock at the brutality of the adult system served as a reason to separate juvenile offenders from adult offenders. In (1847), Massachusetts became the first state to set up a public school for delinquent children, and in 1899, the first juvenile court founded in Chicago. Followers of these changes believed that something required to be done to defend and assist these children. For many years, the issues of children were handled in the juvenile court. Several programs were developed to rehabilitate rather than penalize the adolescents. Whether these programs work or not has been the subject of many debates. (Silverstein, 2007)
Nowadays the tendency in the offender justice system is swinging the other way. For instance, a raising number of younger adolescent criminals are treated the same as adults through documentation to adult court and extended jurisdiction juvenile status. Additionally, if a sixteen-year-old juvenile commit first-degree murder, the juvenile will stand trial as an adult and be sentenced to an adult punishment.
Now, while we might not remember about who's liable for previous times. We want to begin the defense of children from when they first require it, not when we require defense from them. That's when we require stopping criminal behavior. We want communal accountability for all juveniles, containing the juvenile offender and the insane juvenile right up to the age of maturity, with no waiver or any other cop-out (Vachss, 2002). We will fulfill that liability by an assurance of no worse a result than adult alterations, because we will imprison, and still treat, the people you were looking to dump into the adult penitentiary system. We will give the public nothing worse and the promise of something far improved (Vachss, 2002).
We have never had the possibility that not only we deserve, but that our customers, those we are sworn to defend, also deserve. Time is running out for our occupation. If we don't take this chance, in ten years, we will look around and see this occupation eroding before our eyes (Vachss, 2002). We'll all end up doing some type of baloney "counseling," for kids who likely would prevent their behavior on their own as they mature. The way of life aggressive juvenile will become the responsibility of the adult jail system and the age which describes him will drop down practically to childhood (Vachss, 2002). Without taking the accountability for all children, we cannot defend the public, serve our occupation, or gain the self esteem we so desperately need. We've been promising for too long; now it's time to bring.