Parens Patriae and Childhood and Adolescence During the Middle Ages

Assignment Instructions

Write a paper that answers the following questions: What were the existing concepts of childhood and adolescence during the Middle Ages?, How and why did that influence the concept of parens patriae?, Why did the Supreme Court erode the concept of parens patriae in a series of cases during the 1960s?, Is the concept of parens patriae completely gone? Is this a good thing? Why or why not?

Sample Solution – Parens Patriae

In history, possibly the Middle Ages is the period known to have more misconception. The history of adolescences and childhood is also full of misconception in this period. According to Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice most people in this period perceived small children below the age of 7 years as small adults so they were anticipated to behave like adult. They believed that the age of 7 years was the age of reason therefore; it was the transition age to adulthood because the child got perceived as an adult because he or she could understand the command language of adults.As a result, children as young as 6 years of age were frequentlyled off to work as trainees in jobsfor exampleagricultural, blacksmithing, and woodwork (Barry,1999).On the other hand, since the adulthood and childhoodhad a more understated difference, then the idea of adolescence as a kind of growth was not known. Therefore, even the adolescences were treated like adults and were treated in the same way in case of an offence.

Toward the end of middle Ages, conversely, there was dramatic change in economic situation that madevariousprofessionsto change from needing manual employment to demandingeducational skills (Barry, 1999). However, this made children treatment to get transferred toward educational instruction from assimilation with adults.It was at this period the parenspatriae got established for parents who did not have moral mind, and were in the long runnot capable to paternal children (Bernard, 1992). Further conceptual swifts in the cultural idea of children and in social control policies steered to the establishment of the first juvenile courtin U.S. with it doctrine ofparenspatriae, in 1899 in Cook County in the nineteenth century (Bernard, 1992). Parenspatriae code was fundamental to the juvenile court viewpoint and was the legitimate foundation for court control over juveniles(Leanne, et al., 2007). However, this was because children who committed crime were to get treated differently from adult criminals. Children were not lawfully held responsible of their behaviors like adults because they got reflectedas less mature and cognizant of the significancesof their deeds. As a result, the main purpose of parenspatriae was to rehabilitate rather than punishment by designating youthful offender as delinquent rather than as criminal (Leanne, et al., 2007). Its separation of youth from adults led to emergency of adolescence developmental stage that got used to describe individuals who were developmentally between adulthood and childhood. As a result, parenspatriae concluded a very long process fordistinguishingadults from youths offenders.

In the tempestuous 1960s, many collective forces made the Supreme Court to erode parenspatriae. However, the Supreme Court eroded it by making a number of verdicts that formalized juvenile court and introduced more procedural protection in juvenile justice administration and in criminal (Manfredi,1998). The Supreme Court eroded this concept because of the public concern that had developed because of differences in the treatment of juvenile offenders that had resulted from outright will of judges of juvenile court. However, this was affecting the effectiveness of the juvenile court because public stated depending on the mood and temperament of the individual judges, the young offenders could receive massively different sentence(Manfredi, 1998). Additionally, increase in youth criminals during 1960s made the public to perceive that juvenile court system too lenient (Sanford,1970). Due to this, various countries passed disciplinary laws, comprisingcompulsory sentences and for certain offences automatic transfer to adult court.

Despite the Supreme Court attempting to erode parenspatriae doctrine several times, it still show amazing staying power. Even if it gets criticized in one subdivision of the law, it remainsaggressively feasible in its new restrictions because it makes its presence in another subdivision even when restricted. Therefore, it is due to this, parenspatriae has survived all through the 17th and 18th centuries to date where it get used in cases concerning juvenile.

Parenspatriae, doctrine is good particularly the current one because it has altered to offer juvenile a better chance of rehabilitation. Additionally, underparenspatriae, in case the welfare of a kid is in jeopardy, the best interests of a juvenile or inept individual gets intervened by the courts since it has the authority to do so(Leanne, et al., 2007). Moreover, it gives juveniles a second chance in case of a crime after rehabilitation to change and become an important person in the society.

It is clear that although parenspatriae is very old and it has had several eroding by the Supreme courts it has continued to endure. Moreover, even after these several trials of eroding, parenspatriae has not lost its initial role in the juvenile court of separating the juvenile’s treatment with that of adult in case of a crime. Therefore, it was an important code that was made in past and still get used today because of its relevance in the society.

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