SOC 351_Midterm_Sternheimer

SOC 351_Midterm_Sternheimer - Servin 1 Martha Servin Dr K...

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Servin 1 Martha Servin Dr. K. Sternheimer Sociology 351 4 March 2010 Children – From Angels to Deviants: Where Did We Go Wrong? Is there such a thing as a perfect little angel? Most every person can look back and recall doing something naughty or defiant as a child. In fact, as children develop, they are encouraged to explore their world, which is the process of growing-up. As well, adults are encouraged to teach children the difference between right and wrong in order to provide them with a healthy environment and to enrich their lives. This relationship becomes a give and take – children desire the loving and guiding hands of adults, and adults desire for children to be protected. It almost becomes a cliché that instructs society to accept the position of a villager and take an active role in raising society’s children. Thus, if a child fails, do we – as a society – fail? Juveniles are more often than not excluded from the forgiving and understanding standards that allow children to learn as they grow. As a result, many juveniles are slapped with the label of deviants and delinquents for disapproving actions and deeds. Punishment by society, law, and the juvenile’s justice system – who define standards for juveniles – becomes the repercussions for many juveniles today. This stigma, however, was not always the case for juveniles as institutions were not in place to address children as offenders. Exploring history – it is clear that addressing juvenile crime has shifted from society to juvenile courts, which is much different to the philosophy and realities of our current juvenile justice system. Before the existence of the first juvenile justice system, social standards for children determined age of accountability for criminal deeds. According to author Robert Mennel,
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Servin 2 England and America adhered to common law standards that deemed children under the age of seven incapable of waywardness. Although children over the age of seven to approximately fourteen years old were not considered felons, they did face criminal prosecution. If convicted by the same courts and jury that tried adults, children would face incarcerations in adult prison or death (3). The only consideration children over seven years old had was their discernment of right and wrong. In other words, innocence was not a factor as factual guilt was assumed for all children brought before a court and jury. On the other hand, often times the courts and juries hesitated prosecuting children and used the loop hole of incompetency to decipher between right and wrong to acquit them of any criminal charges. In addition, concerns for the nature of children and views as children as criminals brought about many changes as to how juvenile delinquents were to be handled. Social standards for children began changing all through the nineteenth century, which
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This note was uploaded on 03/31/2010 for the course SOCI 351 taught by Professor Sternheimer during the Spring '10 term at USC.

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SOC 351_Midterm_Sternheimer - Servin 1 Martha Servin Dr K...

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