Juvenile Delinquency: No Matter How Loud I Shout by Edward Humes

In the book “No Matter How Loud I Shout” Edward Humes conducts a comprehensive analysis of the various issues surrounding the development and application of juvenile court systems. The book gives a colorful review of the dysfunctional court system in the state of California. The primary focus is on different ways the stipulated court systems are ineffective in addressing related cases of juvenile delinquency. According to the book, some of the common characteristics of juvenile court systems include inadequate funding, poor infrastructural development, and understaffing. Furthermore, Humes specifies that inadequate detention facilities and monitoring officials limit the operation of the juvenile courts.

Correspondingly, in her quote, U.S. Attorney General, Janet Reno offers detailed scrutiny of operations inside the court systems. The infamous quote “Locking everyone up is not the solution,’ she sighs, staring into a cup of coffee gone cold as The Box at Juvenile Hall. ‘It’s just the symptom of the problem. It’s the proof that we’re doing something wrong” is attributed to the then US AG. The Attorney General pointed at the rigid laws that supported lenient punishment towards severe cases and repressive punishment to paltry offenders. According to the judge, the juvenile justice system is fragmented. In particular, the system cannot guarantee the provision of justice to the children. She points at unique problems that are likely to hamper the operation of practitioners in the criminal justice system. Such challenges can inhibit the development of comprehensive, benevolent, considerate, and rational policy statements on the process of juvenile court systems.

One of the possible “problems” AG Janet Reno was possibly referring to is the leniency in sentencing procedures used by the juvenile courts. While the courts should maintain their status as “rehabilitation” centers, serious cases or offenses among the juveniles should attract equal punishment. Allowing the children to get away with serious crimes will encourage the development and spread of related behaviors among other youths. The case of Duncan shows how juvenile court systems are enabling individuals to receive lenient sentencing. Moreover, the illustrated examples of Elias, George, and Geri describe how the court systems can apply restrictive rules on petty offenders. The apparent lack of uniformity in the application of court procedures and judgments threatens the successful operation of the practitioners. Therefore, the AG was questioning the efficacy of the juvenile courts in facilitating the deterrence of criminal charged labeled against the juveniles.

Nonetheless, the rigid laws prevent the judges from designing appropriate punishment equal to the crime committed by an individual. For instance, in the three cases of Elias, George, and Geri, the juvenile court could not act outside the confines of compulsory imprisonment laws. Such rigid rules are transforming the juvenile court systems into formal court processes. The traditional role of juvenile courts in the deterrence of crime and rehabilitation of young criminals is slowly diminishing. Therefore, AG Janet Reno questions the increased emphasis on bureaucratic processes and technicalities when addressing cases inside the juvenile courts. Indeed, the book supports AG Janet Reno’s arguments that the courts are paying little attention to the improvement of children’s welfare and overall safety of contemporary societies. Consequently, the juveniles are likely to develop negative perceptions towards each other and progressively become citizens that are more dangerous.