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Juvenile justice system in different cultural contexts: a comparison of juvenile justice administration in Malawi and the United States of America

Manda, Shonduri Molly (2021) Juvenile justice system in different cultural contexts: a comparison of juvenile justice administration in Malawi and the United States of America. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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Abstract

Juvenile crime has become a pressing issue in many societies in today’s world. The juvenile crime rate varies from one country to another, with some having relatively low rates and others experiencing higher rates. As such, each country has a unique system in response to juvenile crime. The juvenile justice systems are shaped by the different perceptions and beliefs concerning age, maturity, and adolescent development. Thus, juvenile justice systems are rooted in the way adolescence is perceived. This study compared two juvenile justice systems of two culturally different countries—Malawi and the United States of America. The comparison analysis answered the question; How are the historical and modern juvenile justice systems in Malawi and the United States of America similar and distinct in terms of (i). their views of adolescent development? (ii) their response to areas of race and class? (iii) their attempts to social control of the youth population? (iv) their success in preventing juvenile crime? The study analyzed how each country’s juvenile justice system is rooted in the unique way that the country perceived adolescence and childhood. This comparative analysis revealed that the two juvenile justice systems have their origins influenced by the western legal philosophies and ideas of adolescent development. Although the two countries have established juvenile justice systems based on the perception that adolescents are different from adults, there is evidence that the two countries still treat young offenders as adult offenders. In addition, the study has established that the two countries use the juvenile justice system as a measure for social control of the youth population. In the effort to prevent juvenile crime, the study established that the two juvenile justice systems have not been successful as recidivism among young offenders has become a growing problem despite the different rehabilitative programs that were developed. The study recommends that the Malawi juvenile justice system should develop coherent rehabilitative programs which will include community leaders, parents, or guardians; the country should prioritize early intervention measures instead of focusing on rehabilitation always, the country should train officers dealing with young offenders, and the country should introduce restorative justice system. Keywords: juvenile justice system, adolescence development, young offender, rehabilitation, juvenile crime, juvenile justice administrations, recidivism.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: Juvenile justice; Malawi; United States; Juvenile crime; Social control; Adolescents
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Social and Behavioral Science > Sustainable Communities
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2022 20:15
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2022 20:15
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5684

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