Juvenile Justice System While the adult courts deal with crimes, juvenile courts deal with juvenile delinquency. Offences such as theft, burglary, assault, and robbery are included in it. A second category of crime is status offenses, which would not be considered a crime if committed by an adult, but if considered a juvenile delinquency if committed by a juvenile. This category includes skipping school, purchasing alcohol, smoking tobacco, underage drinking etc. The reason for separating these two categories is so demonstrate whether the behaviour is criminal in nature or not.
The only difference between a juvenile and an adult, and delinquent and criminal is of age. The maximum age of juvenile jurisdiction is of 17 in most states. Just like the maximum age is set to be prosecuted in a juvenile court, a minimum age is also set. Children younger than the minimum age cannot be processed in the juvenile court regardless of their crime. For example, the minimum age to be prosecuted in New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland is 7.
After case has been referred to the juvenile court, a decision has to be made. 44% of the cases are handed informally at intake, mostly the juvenile agrees to complete some requirements. While prevention activities are often used in the juvenile courts, the adult courts aim at deterrence. Limitations are place on public access to information on juveniles while adults are given open public access to all information.
Juveniles are not necessarily treated equally. Based on the seriousness of the crime, juveniles may sometimes be waivered off to a criminal court but mostly, the cases are handled informally at intake. Many states have passed legislation to make it easier to prosecute children as adults (Frontline). Depending on the crime, juveniles are either sent for rehabilitation or criminal courts (Frontline). The system has saved many juveniles from being prosecuted as adults.
Works Cited
Frontline. frontline: juvenile justice. 2010. 26 May 2010 .
System, The Juvenile Jsutice. "The Juvenile Justice System." Platt, Anthony M. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977.