Why Drag Younger Youths Into the Legal Justice System?
The legal justice system is designed to deal with lawbreakers, but is it really necessary to involve younger youths in it? In recent years, there has been growing concern over the number of young people who are being arrested, charged, and imprisoned. This article will explore why we should avoid dragging younger youths into the legal justice system.
Negative Effects on Mental Health
One of the biggest reasons why we should avoid involving younger youths in the legal justice system is the negative impact it can have on their mental health. Young people who are arrested and charged with a crime may experience anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These mental health issues can persist long after the legal process is over, making it difficult for young people to move on and rebuild their lives.
Stigmatization and Marginalization
Another reason why involving younger youths in the legal justice system is problematic is the stigmatization and marginalization it can cause. Young people who have been charged with a crime are often seen as troublemakers and may face discrimination in the future. They may struggle to find employment, housing, and education opportunities, which can lead to further marginalization and exclusion from society.
Disproportionate Impact on Marginalized Groups
The legal justice system also disproportionately affects marginalized groups, including young people of color and those from low-income backgrounds. These groups are more likely to be arrested, charged, and imprisoned, even for minor offenses. This perpetuates the cycle of poverty and discrimination, making it even harder for young people to break free from their circumstances.
Lack of Support and Rehabilitation
Finally, involving younger youths in the legal justice system often means that they are not given the support and rehabilitation they need to turn their lives around. Prisons are often overcrowded and underfunded, which means that young people may not receive the education, job training, or mental health support they need to succeed. This lack of support can make it difficult for them to reintegrate into society and can lead to further criminal behavior.
In conclusion, there are many reasons why we should avoid dragging younger youths into the legal justice system. The negative impact on mental health, stigmatization and marginalization, disproportionate impact on marginalized groups, and lack of support and rehabilitation all point to the need for alternative approaches. Instead of punishing young people for their mistakes, we should focus on prevention, intervention, and restorative justice. By doing so, we can help young people to thrive and contribute positively to their communities.