As the text points out, the whole idea of a “juvenile justice system” is to avoid stigmatizing juveniles while rehabilitating them. Yet we are trying juveniles as adults in greater numbers than ever before. Thinking back to the Week 7 thread in which we looked at sentencing goals, the juvenile justice system is supposed to reflect a rehabilitation model as opposed to a punishment model. But in many states, a punishment-based model not only punishes, but seems to want to punish juveniles even more harshly by sentencing them as adults (rather than making an affirmative effort to save them from a permanent life of crime).
In this TedTalk video, “An insider’s plan for rehabilitating the juvenile justice system,” we hear from a young man, Jeff Wallace, who has a unique perspective on the subject. He spent 11 years inside the system and yet made himself successful. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, his master’s degree in criminal justice, and today works with juveniles in the same facility where he was incarcerated. Using that experience, he has a proposal for “habilitating” the juveniles who are caught inside the justice system. What do you think about his ideas? Should juveniles ever be tried as adults?