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Issues with the Juvenile Justice System

2228 words (9 pages) Essay in Criminology

18/05/20 Criminology Reference this

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Special Issues in Criminal Justice

Some issues in the juvenile criminal justice system are mental disorders and substance abuse problems. The decision on whether a juvenile should be treated as an adult offender should depend on the crime itself. Laws in which the connection between crime and drugs can be found in the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 and the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Prevention and Control Act of 1970. I am in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana but not the other heavier controlled services. Three causes of terrorism are politics, religion, and socioeconomic factors. Two ways that the United States is combating terrorism are the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and the Department of Homeland Security Act. Bio-crime and cybercrime are two ways that technology advancement and crime are intertwined. Cybercrime defense needs to be improved by having a better way of finding cybercrime and a way to do this is to educate law enforcement and citizens.

What are some issues with the juvenile justice system? Do you think that teens should be treated like adults when they commit serious crimes? Why or why not?

Some of the issues facing the juvenile system are mental disorder, substance abuse problems and have faced some sort of damage. “Youth in the juvenile system have been found to have high rates of substance use disorders, disruptive disorders, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders” (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, n.d.) Disruptive disorders are behavior disorders that cause harm to the person who has the disorder such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. Anxiety disorders are mental disorders in which the individual feels worried, anxious or fears which then creates difficulty for a person when the person tries to conduct daily tasks. Such disorders under this category are post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). A mood disorder is a mental disorder that shows mood changes and makes the individual’s ability to perform lie activities more difficult. Examples of mood disorders are bipolar disorder and depression. “Research estimates that 75-93% of juveniles in the justice system have experienced some degree of trauma” (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, n.d.). The juveniles are more susceptible to trying to kill themselves and there is a bigger chance of this if the individuals have a history of mental illness or alcohol or drug problems. Mental illness and substance abuse are two problems that the juvenile justice system currently has.

The decision on whether a juvenile should be treated as an adult offender should depend on the crime itself. If the crime is petty theft, I think that treating the individual as a juvenile ok. Although I think if that same individual attempts to commit murder or another type of crime, they should lose the opportunity to be treated as a minor and be treated as an adult who committed the same crime. If the crime is not violent or a misdemeanor, the juvenile should be treated as a minor, but if they commit a violent crime and harm others they should be treated as an adult.

What is the connection between drugs and crime? Are you in favor of the decriminalization of any federally controlled substances? Why or why not?

 The first two laws in which the connection between crime and drugs can be found in the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 and the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Prevention and Control Act of 1970. “The Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 was the first major piece of federal anti-drug legislation” (Schmalleger, 2017). The Harrison Act taxed and regulated the use of opium, morphine, heroin, and cocaine to register with the federal level of the government and must pay $1. This law was for doctors, pharmacists, and other medical professionals. If someone who didn’t work in the medical field was found to be carrying narcotic drugs could get a fine up to $2,000 and five years in prison. The second law is Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Prevention and Control Act of 1970 which has five schedules which aided in classifying narcotic drugs according to the abuse potential “Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse, aren’t legal for medical use, and doesn’t have safety standards for medical use” (Schmalleger, 2017). Drugs in this category such as marijuana, heroin, and opioids and have a sentence of life as well as a hefty fine up to $10 million. “Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse like Schedule I but can be used medically and have a psychological or physical dependence effect on the user (Schmalleger, 2017). Cocaine, morphine, and Adderall are drugs in this category and individuals must have a prescription for the medication and be stored just like Schedule I. If the offender is found having and selling this type of drug, they must serve up to the maximum of 20 years and pay a $5 million find. “Schedule III controlled substances have a potential for abuse less than the drugs or substances in Schedules I and II, are currently accepted for medical use, and could potentially lead to a medium or low amount of physical dependence or high psychological dependence” (Schmalleger, 2017). Cold medicines and athlete steroids are usually found in this category and individuals can have these drugs if it is prescribed by a medical professional and will serve up to five years pay fines up to a million. “Schedule IV controlled substances have a lower potential for abuse relative to those listed in Schedule III, are currently accepted for medical use and may have a limited physical dependence or psychologic dependence on the user” (Schmalleger, 2017). Depression medication, sleeping aids, and Valium are found in this schedule. The penalty for obtaining this without a doctor’s prescription and selling it is serving up to 3 years in prison and the same fine amount as Schedule III. “Schedule V controlled substances have a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule IV, are currently accepted for medical use, and may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule IV” (Schmalleger, 2017). Cough medicines, epilepsy medication, and pain pills are in this category. If the drug is obtained illegally and later sold for profit the penalty is 12 months in prison and ¼ of one-million dollars. The Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 and the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Prevention and Control Act of 1970 are the first two laws that connect crime with drugs.

 I am in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana but not the other heavier controlled services. I agree with the use of it. I am diagnosed with epilepsy and know that it is known to help with the symptoms or pain that they are feeling. However, I don’t believe that making heavier drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or meth. I feel that if these were legalized it would cause some issues because they aren’t exactly safe drugs. I am in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana but not other drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

What are some of the causes of terrorism? What efforts are being made to combat terrorism in the United States?

Three causes of terrorism are politics, religion, and socioeconomic factors. “Political terrorism happens when a non-state army or group is trying to right what they perceive to be a social, political, or historical wrong” (Zahlman, 2019). An example of this recently happened when packages that were considered dangerous were sent to Democratic leaders in the United States. “Religious terrorism is terrorism, which is based around religion and over the centuries, countless people have been killed” (Religious Terrorism, 2019). This is clear in the religious wars that are known to have happened in the 1500s to 1600s in Tudor England between Catholic and Protestant groups. “The socioeconomic explanations of terrorism suggest that various forms of deprivation drive people to terrorism, or that they were more susceptible to recruitment by organizations using terrorist tactics” (Zahlman, 2019). Examples of these are when there is poverty or little education in areas of a country. Causes of terrorism can be political views, choice of religion, or poverty or little education.

Two ways that the United States is combating terrorism are the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 and the Department of Homeland Security Act of 2002. “The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act or AEDPA of 1966 includes many provisions which help to fight terrorism” (Schmalleger, 2017). Some of those provisions are that it makes the raising money within the country for foreign terrorist groups illegal, provides money for terrorism-fighting at the federal and state level of law enforcement, allows for terrorist to be deported and for death sentence to be acceptable punishment, makes it a federal crime to use the US as a starting point for starting terrorist attack to foreign countries. “The Department of Homeland Security Act of 2002 was enacted to protect America against terrorism, created the federal Department of Homeland Security or DHS which is charged with protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure against terrorist attack” (Schmalleger, 2017). The DHS directs multiple domestic agencies including the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S Coast Guard and the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Department of Homeland Security Act and Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act are two forms of legislation which America is using to fight terrorism.

What is the relationship between crime and technological advancement? What modifications to existing laws may need to occur to address crimes related to advancing technologies?

Two types of crime which show the relationship between crime and technological advancement are bio-crime and computer crime. “Bio-crime is a criminal offense perpetrated through the use of biologically active substances, including chemicals and toxins, disease-causing organisms, altered genetic material, and organic tissues, and organs” (Schmalleger, 2017). Crimes that fall into this category usually alter metabolic, chemical, genetics, bodily functions, or the anatomy of a living thing. An example of this type of crime is when Korea cloned a human embryo and removed stem cells from it to do stem cell research. “Cybercrime is a computer crime which focuses on the information stored in electronic media which is why it is sometimes referred to as information technology crime or info-crime” (Schmalleger, 2017). Computer viruses, phishing, software piracy, and spam are all an example of this type of criminal offense. Bio-crime and cybercrime are two examples of how crime and technology are linked.

 One way to better change existing technology laws is to ensure that law enforcement can better fight against computer crimes. Lawmakers and law enforcement can improve this by asking their communities to report all pieces of the crime against them to the necessary agency. Preventative measures are important to so they should also be taken, these are things such as block and report any cyber stalkers, invest in software on their devices to protect against viruses and stay away from illegal webpages. Some ways that cybercrime can be modified to ensure that law enforcement agencies and the citizens that they protect know ways to protect themselves from cybercrimes such as reporting cyber offenders, use of cyber protection software and not going to any webpage that they don’t recognize.

Conclusion

Mental illness and substance abuse are two problems that the juvenile justice system currently has. If the crime is not violent or a misdemeanor, the juvenile should be treated as a minor, but if they commit a violent crime and harm others they should be treated as an adult. Laws which show the relationship between drugs and crime are the Harrison Act, and the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Prevention and Control Act I am in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana but not the other heavier drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Causes of terrorism can be political views, choice of religion, or poverty or little education. The Department of Homeland Security Act and Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act are two forms of legislation which America is using to fight terrorism. Cyber-crime and bio crime are two forms of crime which use technology advancements. Three ways that the cybercrime laws can be modified to ensure that law enforcement agencies and the citizens that they protect know ways to protect themselves from cyber-crimes such as reporting cyber offenders, use of cyber protection software and not going to any webpage that they don’t recognize.

References

  • Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. (n.d.). Key Issues – Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. Retrieved 21 October 2019, from https://jjie.org/hub/mental-health-and-substance-abuse/key-issues/
  • Religious Terrorism | Encyclopedia.com. (2019). Retrieved 22 October 2019, from https://www.encyclopedia.com/books/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/religious-terrorism
  • Schmalleger, F. (2017). Criminal justice today: An introductory text for the twenty-first century (14th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.
  • Zahlman, A. (2019). Top Major Causes and Motivations of Terrorism. Retrieved 22 October 2019, from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-causes-of-terrorism-3209053
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