The American juvenile justice system: Examining disparities and effects in sentencing

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Southern New Hampshire University
In the American juvenile justice system, the rights afforded to juveniles and the sanctions they may be subject to vary considerably from state to state. These disparities contribute to inconsistent effects of detainment and incarceration on juveniles, as well as varying rates of recidivism, between states. This research explores the various ways in which juveniles throughout the country are processed and sentenced, as well as how these practices impact juvenile offenders. Additionally, alternative sentencing options and their efficacy are evaluated. To understand this issue, the present research uses two vastly different states in the United States to compare and contrast the juvenile justice practices in each state, and analyze how a real case of juvenile parricide would be handled in each state based on the relevant laws and sentencing guidelines. The way in which juveniles are detained and sentenced plays a significant role in their potential for rehabilitation and this research aims to provide insight on which juvenile justice practices offer youth the best opportunity for success after contact with the justice system. (Author abstract)