Crime is one of the most troubling and misunderstood aspects of our society. Unfortunately, public interest in memorable and frightening crime stories means the media often panders to these fears. Misunderstanding the causes and consequences of juvenile crime does a disservice to youth and damages society as a whole. Here are a few of the myths that surround juvenile crime.

Myth: Crime Is out of Control

Nationally, the crime rate is falling and has been for some time. This includes juvenile crime. According to the National Center for Juvenile Justice, juvenile arrests are the lowest in nearly 20 years, with the arrests for violent crime the lowest in 30 years. While the reasons for the decline are not well understood, clearly, there is not an epidemic of juvenile crime. The perception that crime is out of control leads to public demands for action. This results in tougher punishments, mandatory minimums and harsher tactics that do little to prevent crime.

Myth: Juvenile Offenders Need a Wake-Up Call to Be “Scared Straight!”

Overly harsh punishments do not reduce juvenile recidivism rates. According to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (FDJJ), programs such as “Scared Straight” are demonstrably ineffective, and harsh sentencing of juvenile offenders can actually do more harm than good. Studies have found that boot camp-style programs are less effective than community-based programs in reducing the incidents of re-offense. Additionally, increasing the length of stay in a correctional program does not tend to decrease the likelihood of repeat offense. Juvenile offenders are still children, and while correction is needed, it is not necessary to treat juveniles like hardened criminals.

Myth: Juvenile Offenders Are Bad Kids

The FDJJ notes that less than 10 percent of the children who have dealings with the law in Florida are serious or repeat offenders.

Myth: My Kids Would Never!

While there is evidence that poor parenting can lead to increased juvenile crime, kids can break the law for any number of reasons or for no reason at all. It is important to realize that a child who breaks the law once is not necessarily bound for a life of crime. It is easy for parents to feel frightened and confused when they are faced with a child who has been arrested. However, it is important to remember that juvenile offenders need appropriate guidance and correction.

Myth: My Child Does Not Need a Lawyer

In juvenile cases, it is especially important to have legal representation. A qualified counselor can help families navigate the intricacies of the legal system. The right attorney can help protect your child’s rights and see that the outcome is fair and constructive. You need someone to stand for your child, to ensure their rights are defended and that the system serves your child the way it should.

Contact the Khonsari Law Group for Juvenile Crime Attorneys

The Khonsari Law Group is here to help you and your child. Our experienced attorneys give you peace of mind knowing that your rights will be defended and your case will be handled with your best interests in mind. Contact us today for a free consultation.