Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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World of juvenile crime is drastically changing (for the better)

There was a time not too long ago that people predicted the rise of the super juvenile criminal. There was a general line of thinking that anticipated the coming of many juvenile criminals who would do anything and everything they could to wreak havoc. Of course, that day never came -- but it didn't stop many states, including California, from passing a wave of laws that enhanced penalties for juveniles if they committed crimes.

All of this was based on a supposed dawn of super criminals. That dawn never came, and now some states are drawing back their overly-ambitious and truly harsh laws that treat juveniles as adults in certain scenarios.

Much of this drawback is being done with the support of research and actual logic. For example, one study found that incarcerating younger people actually increases the chance that they will commit a crime in the future. Those laws of yesteryear were actually creating more criminals as opposed to preventing their arrival.

An amazing statistic shows just how much has changed since 1997, when crime rates were peaking. Since that year, juvenile crime has dropped an astonishing 48 percent as of 2011.

It's great to see for a couple of reasons: first, it further debunks the already debunked theory that juveniles were magically turning into super criminals in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But it also shows that juveniles are actually respecting the law quite a bit more -- and that, possibly, laws are scaling back to the point that many offenses that used to be considered "crimes" are being scaled back to more reasonable positions.

Source: Frontline, "Why States Are Changing Course on Juvenile Crime," Sarah Childress, Dec. 17, 2014

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