What Is Wrong With the California Juvenile Criminal System? - Argumentative Essay

Published: 2021-08-16
605 words
3 pages
6 min to read
Sewanee University of the South
Type of paper: 
Argumentative essay
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Arguably, the criminal system in the State of California is used to not only punish adult offenders but also to offer treatment and rehabilitation of the juvenile offenders. More fundamentally, the California Juvenile criminal system has a broad array of methods and programs for addressing juvenile crime, taking into account the offenders background and the severity of the offense. In this regard, the presumption is that offenders below the age of 18 are less responsible for their criminal acts since they are not mature enough. However, in spite of this, there is evidence of incompetence in the juvenile system, thus calling for immediate action. The Juvenile Criminal System in California which, has been under fire for various deficiencies and abuse of the young offenders, should integrate holistic approaches that primarily address the minors needs in the juvenile system.

To begin with, studies substantiate that the States juvenile criminal system mishandles the delinquent minors, regarding the rehabilitation process. For instance, according to Bell and Stauring (2004), the juvenile facilities in the state of California are in deplorable conditions owing to the incompetence that is exemplified by the systems officials and policymakers. Besides, reports aimed at addressing the current issues affecting the California Juvenile system substantiate that there are numerous cases of excessive use of violence in these facilities.

In a similar regard, a 2014 report by the California innocence project points out that the incompetence of the system's authority has seen inadequate mental health care and poor educational services for the juvenile offenders. This, in essence, has led to cases of poor rehabilitation of the imprisoned minors and as a result, studies substantiate that three out of four delinquent youths who have gone through the California Juvenile System, end up being rearrested within three years.

Although supporters of the system contend that affective rehabilitation is one of the primary goals of Californias Juvenile Criminal System, evidence has been piling up that there is an overuse of isolation cells for the minors held at the juvenile halls, prisons, as well as probation camps. This being the case, it is without any doubt that extreme isolation takes an enormous toll on the minors and as a result, undermines its own purpose. According to mental health practitioners, being locked away in isolation and away from contact with other people can be referred to as abuse. More specifically, when this kind of isolation is imposed on a minor dealing with mental illness, trauma or any other disability, it tends to exacerbate, rather than curb the behavioral problems at hand (Pennington, 2010).

Despite the presumptions that differentiate the objectives of the California adult criminal systems and the juvenile ones, I am for the opinion that, those juveniles who commit adult crimes such as murder or involved in terrorism, there is the need for them to be held accountable just as adults. Besides, the system should accord them consequences that are as hefty as their actions.

In conclusion, as the California justice system and policymakers struggle to reform the system of the juvenile justice, there is a great need for them to focus on systematic reforms. These reforms should be the kind that will not just paper over problems but also, end the systems abuse once and for all. The California Juvenile Criminal System also needs to integrate models that take a holistic approach to try and address the needs of the minors in the juvenile system.


Bell, J., & Stauring, J. (2014, May 2). Serious Problems Festering in Juvenile Justice System Require Serious Reforms. Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/2004/may/02/opinion/oe-bell2

Pennington, W. (2010, October 8). Documentary critiques juvenile correctional system. Retrieved from https://oaklandnorth.net/2010/10/08/documentary-critiques-juvenile-correctional-system/

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