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Adultification of Juvenile Criminal Behavior

In our time, justice is faced with a number of difficulties and problems stemming from the unusualness of some instances and factors. One of the most challenging issues to resolve is juvenile trials, as well as the problem of juvenile adaptation. Based on the Haerle study (2018), one can judge that often the court gives the juvenile the status of an adult, which both has several consequences for the convicted person and, in general, is the cruelest practice. After all, a minor who finds himself in an institution for adults is subjected to psychological, physical, and sexual violence and pressure from other prisoners, which breaks the person’s personality. And the reason for this is the stiffness and partiality of the court and several other factors rooted in the religion and culture of society. To sum up, the practice of juveniles being brought under an adult court is inhuman because it breaks the lives of young people and spreads damage within the justice system.

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One of the reasons for adultification particularly clearly demonstrates the biased attitude of the court. Namely, the factor of racism is superimposed on an already inhuman phenomenon, of which numerous examples exist. One of them is reflected in Sanders (2019), such as the attitude towards black underage girls as older than their peers, which leads to psychological pressure and sexual harassment. Such an attitude, criminalization, and intimidation of minors, not only because of their age but also because of their racial and social status, demonstrates how the court, using its power, destroys people’s lives based on their prejudices. The justice system is not impartial, as evidenced by the widespread racism against minors, people of color. Thus, it demonstrates the problem of people’s personal views within the system and the social stigmatization of the black population.

It is also worth noting that adolescents are often influenced from the outside, and they rarely come to illegal actions. As a rule, this is an aggressive influence on the part of parents, other adults, and surrounding young people from an unfavorable criminal environment. Additionally, a specific role plays marginality and toxic masculinity on the part of fathers in sons’ upbringing. In summary, parental patterns of aggression and the drive to dominate through violence and abuse often lead to distortion of moral values ​​in the minds of minors.

Religion is also an essential factor in the formation of the above-described problems. The Western world has been characterized by patriarchy and Christian values ​​as the prominent formative institutions for the past several thousand years. Abrahamic religions are often cruel to children, as to people not in the complete sense of the word, which leads to brutal punishments. This attitude is reflected in the Scripture: “He that spare his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Proverbs 13:24). This “discipline,” as conservative people often call it, does not accomplish any purpose. The aggression and violence shown to minors only destructively affect their mental state and worldview, which leads to the fact that a teenager is ready to commit a crime, having become accustomed to cruelty and domestic violence. The court, continuing to follow the Abrahamic tradition, treats minors with all cruelty. In brief, the participants of the justice system judge minors on an equal basis with adults who commit their crimes deliberately, unlike children, which are easily influenced from outside.


Haerle, D. R. (2018). Unpacking adultification: Institutional experiences and misconduct of adult court and juvenile court youth living under the same roof. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 63(5), 663–693. Web.

Saunders, N. (2019). Review of pushout: The criminalization of black girls in schools. Education Review, 26. Web.

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