Juvenile Offenders: Victims of Circumstance With a Potential for Rehabilitation
01 Jan 2016-FIU Law Review (Florida International University)-Vol. 12, Iss: 1, pp 187
About: This article is published in FIU Law Review.The article was published on 2016-01-01 and is currently open access. It has received None citations till now. The article focuses on the topics: Juvenile delinquency & Rehabilitation.
01 Jan 2016
TL;DR: More than 12,000 children have been tried as adults in Florida over the last five years and 98 percent of these children are “direct filed” in adult court by prosecutors with no hearing, due process, oversight or input from a judge as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: At the turn of the 20th century, advocates of an alternate court process for juveniles highlighted problems that existed with prosecuting court-involved children in adult court where they principally faced punishment and surveillance. As an alternative, these advocates established juvenile courts, which reduced the severity of punishment and combined it with rehabilitative regimes and programs aimed at turning children’s lives around. The first Juvenile Court was founded in Chicago and its guiding principles were that childhood should be a protected stage of life, that children were less culpable for their actions than adults, and that children were more receptive to reform and rehabilitation. Despite the juvenile courts’ founding principle that children are fundamentally different from adults, juvenile courts have historically allowed some children to be prosecuted as adults in adult criminal court. A small minority of children, it was thought, were either not suitable for rehabilitation or were charged with politically-fraught offenses that might destabilize or delegitimize the juvenile court. These rare cases resulted in the occasional prosecution of children in adult court. Since 2009, more than 12,000 children have been tried as adults in Florida over the last five years1 -98 percent of these children are “direct filed” in adult court by prosecutors with no hearing, due process, oversight or input from a judge.2 This is because in Florida, prosecutors have virtually unfettered discretion to decide which children to try as adults. Florida currently has the highest number of adult transfers reported of any state. It would be easy to come to the conclusion that when a child is tried