Breaches of the Criminal Code by Children
A criminal code is also called a penal code. And it is a document that puts together all or a substantial amount of criminal laws of a given jurisdiction. The document will also have the penalties that are likely to be imposed on the one who breaks these codes. In the civil law authorities, criminal codes are very common. The criminal codes are also used in these jurisdictions to build legal systems that are relatively abstract and them on individual cases (Cornish & Clarke, 2014). However, when one reaches the age of criminal responsibility they may be required to take up responsibility as dictated by age and by the type of the crimes that have been committed. Within the United States, there are thirty-three states that have no minimum age for criminal responsibility.
Governments in most jurisdictions enact laws that make some crimes as wrongful. An action that is considered to be antisocial can be stigmatized positively to reveal how the society disapproves the criminal behavior (McCord, 1979). Within this context, the laws can use the ides of age for criminal responsibility in the following ways: - First, it defines who a child is and the prosecution and punishment that is issued to a child and to an adult in the different ways. Young offenders, however, receive different sentences. In the general observation about children committing crimes, there some exceptions that have been made due to constant incidences of children committing crimes that earlier were not considered to be possible to be committed by children such as murder.
Research has revealed in the recent times that there are some factors that are likely to lead children to commit crimes. In these findings, there are those factors that create room for the youth to get involved in crimes. The first is peer pressure as well as per involvement in criminal behavior. In that case, therefore, man can weigh the means, the cost and the benefits, then using the rationale; they are able to make rational choices. This approach is attributed to Cornish and Clarke who attempted to use it as a remedy for situational crimes. According to Meier and Miethe (1993) crime is a purposive behavior and the offender uses it to meet their needs such as money, sex, status. As such, crimes are a matter of choice and one can rationally choose to commit a crime or not.
This theory does not clearly connect on the rational choice among people of younger age. This question is asked because since the development of the ego and the balance between the id and the ego is something obtained overtime as the child develops. Victimized In this model, the experts in criminology point a finger to the society and the surrounding of an individual as a reason for the crimes. In this case, people commit crimes as a result of them being victims of crimes of the same form or of another form (Nunes, McPhail & Babchishin, 2012). This can explain the reasons why a child who is a victim of sexual molestation may commit crimes like rape. This theory best explains why children engage in crimes and further supports most of the incidences of crimes that have been found among people of underage.
Children are therefore considered as people who can commit crimes out of choice and after carefully considering the consequences of their choices. If this is to be applied as it is, then this theory does not give the link between a child’s ability to know the consequences and their decision to commit crimes. Classical School theory Classical School theory is a theory that falls under the bigger umbrella of the rational model. This theory creates harsher punishments for people who commit crimes. The founder of this theory is Cesare Beccaria and his approach has proved to be more flexible and applicable in the modern world. This theory is a much broader theory compared to the latter because it involves the risk of formal as well as informal sanctions.
Meier and Miethe (1993) clarify that these two theories are alike because of their approach that all humans are rational and they are beings with self-interests and can make choices. Rational Choice Theory (RCT) is all about a conduct that one chooses. In other words, the non-criminal behavior is similar to criminal behave since they are all about choices. This theory goes ahead to explain the reasons why the children would choose to commit crimes because, it explains that while there is a choice on whether to commit or not to commit crimes, people choose crimes since they think it is more rewarding and does not cost much (Hawkins, 1996). Furthermore, the theory explains that the commission of crimes is a personal decision.
As such this theory suggests that the child is capable of choosing to commit a criminal act. The second model on the predestined model on its part suggests that the commission of crimes is something that the child cannot get over since it comes as an urge that once has no control over. This theory as mentioned earlier considers that children can commit crimes when they are unable to control their id (Nunes, McPhail & Babchishin, 2012). Based on the Freudian approach to development, a child will commit a crime when they cannot control their id which may be a result of the psychological problem. In this approach, the experts say that a crime is committed with full knowledge of the fact that there is a punishment for the crimes.
In many cases, the person that commits the crime is well aware of the crimes and the consequences of the crimes but the biological makeup urges them to commit the crimes. This can best be explained in situations such as the case where one commits crimes since it satisfied their id (Hagan, 2012). This explanation would best fit when using the developmental theory of Freud who explains that such urges come when the ego is malfunctioning. In the same manner, this crime occurs when there are circumstantial situations that force it to happen. Meaning that, defense of differs by age and by region. In the entire three models, non-really explains anything exceptional about the reasons why people and specifically, children commit crimes.
However, the rational theory of criminal behavior has a more realistic approach in the sense that it clarifies that criminal behavior is a choice just like non-criminal behavior. As for the victimized theory on criminal behavior, it also explains a more plausible reason why children would engage in criminal behavior since it connects crimes with effects of criminal behavior on the criminal. As mentioned earlier, this best explains why criminals are mostly people with a sad past of molestation and so on. Moreover, research still needs to be done to examine the other reasons that may make children became criminals other than biologically related and psychologically related reasons. References Cornish, D. B. , & Clarke, R. V. Criminal behavior: Theories, typologies, and criminal justice.
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