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Theories of Crime and Juvenile Rights

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (n.d.), all people are equal and free from the very first day of their birth. The most important rights of children enable them to grow up as harmonious personalities, regardless of the social and financial status of their parents, race, and place of residence. Both minors and adults have the right to life, protection from violence, dignified treatment, favorable cultural, physical, and socio-economic conditions for development, and defend their views. At the same time, the rights of minors and the rights of adult citizens of any country are not at all the same phenomena. The legislation regulates the rights, duties, and responsibilities of the child and adolescent by age. Thus, constitutional rights, the right to purchase certain goods, including tobacco or alcohol, visit certain places, drive a vehicle, or participate in voting are acquired at a certain age.

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Due to a certain level of social and emotional maturity of minors, which in most cases is inferior to an adult, minors’ rights are sufficient, and they should not be the same as those of adults. Longcor (2017) notes that the unfortunate results of the “tough on crime” policies for prosecuting adults and juveniles in the criminal justice system must be different. It is because minors do not have the level of maturity, thought process, decision-making, experience, and wisdom that an adult is supposed to have. It does not mean that children are more stupid and somehow worse than adults; they simply lack experience. Children do not have much life experience and specific knowledge; therefore, it is challenging for them to bear responsibility for their actions in the modern world independently. Moreover, Edwards (n.d.) asserts that there is a greater chance that adolescents are more likely to change for the better than adults after realizing the consequences of their behavior. Thus, the rights of minors and adults should differ due to the peculiarities of the psychological characteristics of development.


Edwards, T. (n.d.) The reasons for treating: Juveniles differently. Public Broadcasting Service.

Longcor, A. (2017). Juvenile or adult? Lost in interpretation: The split on interpreting a “Prior record” under the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act. Mitchell Hamline Law Journal of Public Policy and Practice, 38(3), 1-22.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (n.d.). United Nations.

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