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Autor: anton 19 May 2011
Words: 1687 | Pages: 7
The juvenile justice system has been around since the late 19th century. Before this time if a juvenile committed a crime they would be tried in the same court system as an adult. Today, this would seem very strange or unfair to most people. But, before the end of the 19th century there were no court systems designed for juvenile offenders. When it came to prosecuting juveniles in the adult court system, it had to be determined whether or not a juvenile could be criminally responsible for their actions. If the juvenile was under the age of seven, then the courts felt that they were entirely to young to be held responsible. If the juvenile was between the ages of seven and fourteen then the courts felt it was questionable to whether or not they could be criminally responsible. It would then be up to the prosecution to prove criminal responsibility. If a juvenile was over fourteen then they were considered to be criminally responsibility and could be charged as an adult. This means that a juvenile at this time could be punished as an adult. This could mean going to jail or sentenced to death.
Incarcerating juveniles and adults can be extremely dangerous. The solution to this problem was created by introducing "House of Refugee and Reform Schools" (Shepherd, Robert 1999). In 1899 the first juvenile court for youths was introduced. This court system was used for juveniles who committed crimes. It also was used for juveniles who were neglected, dependent or delinquent and who were under the age of sixteen. One thing that was established in the juvenile court system when it started was that juvenile criminal records were considered to be confidential and they were separate from other criminal records.
Although the juvenile court system started in Illinois, it quickly spread to other states. When the juvenile court system became more sufficient, the United States Supreme Court stepped in and decided that juveniles have the right to due process. This was determined by Kent vs. U.S (1966), which stated that "youths transferred to adult courts were entitled to a hearing, meaningful representation by counsel, and a statement of reason of transfer"; In re Gault (1967), which stated " youth subject to delinquency proceedings has the right to notice and an opportunity to be heard, to counsel, to cross-examine witnesses, and the right against self-incrimination"; In re Winship (1970), which stated that " a state must prove a youth guilty of charges beyond a reasonable doubt"; and Breed vs. Jones (1975), which stated that " the double jeopardy clause prohibits states from transferring juveniles to adult courts after finding them delinquent". The Supreme Court also decided in 1971, that juveniles are not eligible to have a jury trial. All the laws that the United States Supreme Court established helped to form how the juvenile court system is ran today.
There are many differences and similarities among the adult and juvenile court system. The following are the differences:
The juvenile court system was set up to protect juveniles and to help them to receive treatment for problems they might be experience, whether it is through family court or criminal court. While the adult court was set up to punish adults who are guilty of a crime.
In the juvenile court system rehabilitation is a main focus. While in the adult court deterrence is the main focus.
Juveniles are considered to be delinquent and not guilty. While adults are considered either guilty or innocent.
Parole for juveniles is considered to be for monitoring a juveniles activities within the community. While adult probation is used to monitor adults from committing illicit behavior.
Juvenile records are considered to be confidential because juveniles are considered to be successfully rehabilitated. This way their juvenile records will not affect their future goals. While adult courts records are open and available to the public. This way an adults criminal record follows them through their life.
The juvenile court takes a juveniles history into account. This way the courts can meet the needs of the juvenile. Juveniles face what is called a hearing. A hearing discusses the juveniles social history as well as the all legal factors in the case. While adult courts have trials that are based strictly on the legal facts.
In the juvenile court system age is a big factor. It determines the jurisdiction of a juvenile case. While the type of crime that is committed determines what jurisdiction an adult case will be held.
There are crimes that juveniles commit that are considered to be against the law. While the same crime can be committed by an adult and it is considered to be legal.
There are special juvenile detention centers that juveniles are sentenced to. Juveniles can not go to state prisons or county jails because they are reserved for adults only.
Adults tried in a criminal case can receive the death penalty. While juveniles who are under the age of 16 can not receive the death penalty. Only juveniles who are seventeen and older can be subjected to the death penalty depending on the crime.
The juvenile court tries to involve parents in the process of the rehabilitation of juveniles. While the adult court does not.
The proceedings of a juvenile is not considered to be criminal. Adult court cases are considered to be criminal.
Juvenile court cases are considered to be formal. Only the key players are involved in the hearing process. While in the adult court system a trial is open to the public and anyone can come in and seat through the trial.
A juveniles identity is sealed from the public, but the crime they committed can be revealed to the public. An adult identity is usually released to the public to inform the public about the crime and so that if anyone has any information.
Adults have the option of bail, which gives them the opportunity to avoid going directly to prison. Juveniles are usually released in their parents custody.
Juveniles can be involved in a search without probable cause in most cases.
There also many similarities between the adult and juvenile court and they are the following:
Juveniles and adults are both subject to detention centers if they are considered to be dangerous individuals.
Juveniles and adults can both be considered for treatment programs.
Juveniles and adults can be subjected drug testing if the court system sees fit.
Juvenile and adult court systems have prosecutors and defense attorneys.
Juvenile and adults are allowed to have some form of counsel.
Juveniles and adults are allowed to plea bargain and negotiate on their behave.
Juveniles and adults can appeal a case if they see fit.
Juveniles and adults have to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Juveniles and adults can be assigned to the Department of Probations.
The Miranda warnings are to be read to juveniles and adults in all cases.
Juveniles are of course going to have a different view on the juvenile justice system. Whether or not youths views on the juvenile justice system are negative or positive, in the long run the system is to benefit them. The views of the juvenile are usually set by their parents or their environment until they actually experience the system to themselves. Many people in society hate to go to court and think that the court system is out to get them. For juveniles the rehabilitation process can be very rewarding for a juvenile who wants to change their lives and look to something positive. Many times positive influences are not available for the youth so this becomes their last chance. This process becomes a disadvantage when the juvenile thinks they can out smart the system or if they have no want to change.
Abolishing the juvenile court system is in the minds of many people today. The reason why so many people want to abolish the juvenile justice system because there are many problems with the current system. According to the Juvenile Justice Bulletin the juvenile system should be abolished.
Moderately to severely crowded detention centers and correctional facilities; insufficient services for youth who have significant emotional and educational needs, warning signs for potential future delinquency; overrepresentation of minority youth at most of the major decision points in the juvenile justice process stemming from complex cultural, societal, and system factors; excessive reliance on incarceration; high recidivism because of inadequate probation and community reentry or aftercare services; longer periods of incarceration for females convicted of less serious offenses than males; case-processing delays that place delinquents at risk and cause overuse of costly detention facilities; overburdened judges, prosecutors and probation officers, high case loads for public defenders.
In the future I think that the juvenile court system will advance and succeed tremendously. I think that many people believe that the juvenile court system will fail. There are problems in the juvenile system that can be changed and updated to fit the needs of the society today. In today's society juveniles show signs of risk years before they actually enter the juvenile court system. If multiple programs were established to work together, then many juvenile concerns could be addressed. Parents also need to start to get involved by monitoring their children so that they can pick up on signs that their children need help. Signs would include "demonstrating early school failure, history of trauma, and exhibiting problems with behavior (Bilchik, Shay, 2000). A lot of times juveniles in the juvenile justice system are in many type of different programs such as child welfare services, special education, and mental health. The problem is that all these different agencies are not communicating today like they should. In the future I think that the boundaries set up today will be lifted and these different organizations will be able to work together.
Bilchik, Shay. 2000. System Change Through State Challenge Activities: Approaches and Products. Juvenile Justice Bulletin.
Fox, Sanford. 1998. A Contribution to the History of the American Juvenile Court. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, Vol. 49, No. 4.
Jackson, David. 1999. Broken Teens Left in Wake of Private Gain. Chicago Tribune.
Shepherd, Robert. 1999. The Juvenile Court at 100: Birthday Cake or Funeral Pyre? Criminal Justice, Vol. 13, No. 4