I’m working on a law discussion question and need an explanation to help me study.
History of the Courts Regarding Juvenile Justice
Juvenile justice system is not an aspect that came to be what it is today overnight. In fact, it took a lot more time to develop due to the complexities of the young and developing minds. Traumatic childhoods, poor quality of life, and neglect are some of the main causes for juvenile delinquency. Since children are the future of any country, it is important to establish a solid base to help them prosper. Several historical events attempted to do just that and had a lot of impact on the juvenile justice using various interventions to better the quality of life of children. One of those historical events was the creation of Chancery Courts by the King of England in the fifteenth century. The development of the Chancery Courts has been of high significance because it was one of the first major reforms that began to shape the juvenile justice system not only in England but in the United States as well.
There have been numerous criminological studies and theories developed that examined factors such as the psychological, biological, and criminal behaviors displayed during various developmental stages. Theories that even involved neighborhoods, peers and family members have been proven to have an effect on criminality. “Tarde’s theory was essentially a cognitive theory in which the individual was said to learn ideas through the association with other ideas, and behavior was said to follow from those ideas” (Snipes, Bernard, & Gerould, 2019, p. 211). Social learning theory has a lot to do with the environment that the children are brought up in and the parents have a large impact on that. All the basic behaviors and a sense of morale are learned from the parents. It is a known fact that children imitate their parents’ behavior. I have seen firsthand how many parents do not provide an adequate example of right and wrong since they themselves cannot follow the basic laws.
As previously stated, the Chancery courts have been created in the fifteenth century to help cover portions of the law that were not found in the common law. “Chancery courts, under the guidance of the king’s chancellor, were created to consider petitions of those who were in need of special aid or intervention, such as women and children left in need of protection and aid by reason of divorce, death of a spouse, or abandonment, and to grant relief to such persons” (Cox, Allen, Hanser & Conrad, 2018, p. 4-5). Chancery courts deal with a lot more disputes than child custody, such as wills, mentally incapable adults, and many others. When it came to child custody, what the Chancery court lacked was a more thorough structure that would treat every case uniformly, therefore, making it somewhat ineffective. Some women were willing to pay to get their children back and other mothers asked for courts to “repay the money laid out on him when he was a minor” (Capern, 2019, p. 704). Although, it may not have been the perfect system, it did create a starting point for other programs to take care of those who cannot care for themselves.
It is a social responsibility to make sure that children grow up to be law abiding citizens. Therefore, the United Stated Social Services have adopted the concept of caring for children and elderly and those who cannot help themselves. Not only did I come to the United States as an immigrant, but I also lost my late husband to a tragic accident and was left with a two-year old daughter and I can testify to the fact that the program works. Other countries do not have the same programs to benefit the welfare of others and it reflects in their criminal statistics. Although the Chancery courts were established in the fifteenth century, the effects from those are still represented in the social services programs today and will continue on for years to come. The benefits outweigh everything else because we as a nation are investing in the country’s future.
The Bible supports the concept of social services and promotes the development of the young generations. In Proverbs 22:6 the Bible teaches us, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” What families instill in their children will last a lifetime. When children are brought up believing in God, serving God, and worshiping God, their chances of avoiding sin increase drastically. This applies not only to the parents but the whole community since in Ephesians 2:19-22 the Bible teaches us,
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saint and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (p. 1621).
Every person was born into this world with a sinful nature by simply existing. As each person gets older, they develop personalities and various unique traits. However, what the righteous people have in common is the love for Christ. The further one moves away from God, the more vulnerable they are to commit sinful acts. Sinful nature in turn has a strenuous effect on the person’s spirit, soul and even body. Therefore, careful precautions have to be taken to alleviate and eliminate sin and grow closer to God through family, community and government.
As a law enforcement officer on the front lines, I had to call social services for various reasons and ask for help plenty of times. Although the concept began with the Chancery courts, the structure that social services have are better and more diverse in nature. The resources they have and the services they provide are simply non-comparative to any other country. As the Bible described the goal to success is not simply for the program or a concept to exist, but all of the people working together for the greater good and to improve juvenile justice from the ground up.