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Juvenile and Adult Courts Essay

One dilemma that is an issue in our society is crime among our youths. Crime is everywhere that is caused by both adults and youth. Daily we hear of murders, robberies, and rapes that have been committed by juveniles. The Juvenile Court with Adult Court is different and similar in the criminal justice system.

A look at the juvenile history in 1643 a sixteen year old boy was put to death for sodomizing a cow. Today many states disagree in the execution of juveniles. In the present day the increasing violence, both juvenile and adult system has changed over the years (Simmons 2002).

The juvenile philosophy in juvenile courts was to offer the youth an individualized justice and treatment instead of imparting justice and punishment. The juvenile court is different then adult court and from earlier periods of American history was the idea of protecting the children.

The focus is treatment and the best interest of the child in the disposition.

Since the increase of serious violent crimes by juveniles policymakers have argued for tougher penalties are needed in deterring crime among juveniles. This caused an increase of juveniles in adult courts. It seems that tougher policies have not decrease or deter juveniles for committing serious crimes.

There are five major ways juveniles get transferred to adult courts.

1. Discretionary judicial wavier,

2. Mandatory judicial wavier,

3. Presumptive judicial wavier, when the burden of the proof is on the juvenile courts is more appropriate,

4. Prosecutorial direction to charge in adult court,

5. Statutory exclusion provision, which automatically exclude certain juveniles due to their age (Simmons 2002).

Similarities: Juvenile and Adult.

You can ask yourself two questions? Do juveniles who are in adults court getting treated harsh compared to theses in juveniles court? Do juveniles in adults court not repeat offense that those in juvenile court? According to the Serious Violent Juveniles Offenders study group no real study has been done on the two questions many of us ask ourselves.

The juvenile/adult justice system refers to the police, the juvenile/adult courts, their intake and probation officers, attorneys for the state and the juvenile/adult/parents, juvenile/adults detention/jail faculties, juvenile/adult correctional faculties, social worker that place juveniles that are court ordered. Each area of the system has different discretions that keep the system in check. Juveniles/adults both have the right to receive Miranda warning. Juveniles/adults are protected from prejudicial lineups producers (Kalinich, Klofas, & Stojkovic 2003).

Equivalent guidelines protect juveniles and adults from admitting guilt. Prosecutors and defense attorney both have a significant responsibility in both juvenile and adult advocacy. Juveniles and adults have both the right to a counsel for the court proceedings. Similarities of negotiation or plea barging exist in both juveniles and adults offenders. Juveniles and adults both have the right to a hearing and appeal. Juveniles and adults can be both placed on probation. Both juveniles and adults can be detaining for pretrial in jail. Juveniles and adults can be kept in jails without bail, if they are a threat or dangerous. After the trail both juveniles and adults can be placed into a treatment program (Kalinich, Klofas, & Stojkovic 2003).

Diferences: Juveniles and Adult.

The juvenile and adult systems are similar in many ways and yet are also different in many ways. In the juvenile system the standard of evidence of juvenile delinquency adjudications, in adult court trail it is the proof beyond a reasonable doubt (Kalinich, Klofas, & Stojkovic 2003).

The vital purpose of the juvenile courts is to protect and treatment for the child. Whereas adults the focus is to punish the guilty. Age determines the jurisdiction for a juvenile in juvenile court. The nature of the offense determines jurisdiction in the adult system (Kalinich, Klofas, & Stojkovic 2003).

Juveniles proceeding are not considered criminal; adult proceedings are. Juvenile court proceeding are usually informal and confidential. Whereas adult courts are held more formal and are open to the public and are not confidential. Courts can release the identity or any information about a juvenile in a trail to the media, but the courts must release any information regarding an adult to the media (Kalinich, Klofas, & Stojkovic 2003).

Juveniles can be detained for acts that would not be considered criminal if they were adults, status offense. In the juvenile court parents/guardians are involved in every step of the proceedings, but not in the adults’ process. The juvenile can be release to their parents/guardians supervision if the charge is not a felony or if there is a need for protection. Adults if not a threat or dangerous are given a possibility for bail (Kalinich, Klofas, & Stojkovic 2003).

Some major differences between juveniles and adults are the issue that juveniles have no right to a jury trail, adults have that right. Juveniles who are questioned by a police officer can just give their names and address; they parents/guardians must be notified. Juveniles can be searched but must express rejection, but in a school sitting a search without probable cause is valid. For adults they are detained and must answer any question they choose to answer without an attorney, searches are done for officer safety, probable cause must be present. A juveniles’ record can be sealed at the age of maturity, usually at the age of 18 years old. For adults the records are permanent (Kalinich, Klofas, & Stojkovic 2003).

Benefits and disadvantages of juvenile court from the perspective of a youth offender.

The death penalty is a conservational issue in the criminal justice system today. Capital punishment is allowed in 35 states. Over the past years some of those that were executed were seventeen years old when they committed the crime of murder. The Supreme Court ruled in the case of Thompson v. Oklahoma 1988 that it is unconstitutional to execute juveniles who commit a crime at the age of 15 years old (Kalinich, Klofas, & Stojkovic 2003). Then a year later the Supreme Court ruled a juvenile who commits a crime at the age of 16 can be executed. Even though Thompson’s life was spared this still leaves a question whether juveniles’ murders are criminals who deserve to die or whether or not they can be rehabilitate to learn to live a productive life. The issue is more conservational for executing juveniles then adults (Allard, Young. 2002).

Despite the rights secured by the case Gerald Gaullt, juveniles can still de deprived of some freedom for actions that would be considered criminal if an adult. Some of these offenses are truancy, running away, and incorrigibility. Juveniles are minors and are immature, incapable and protection is waived if they commit an adult crime. The juvenile system is been criticized because children have many rights that caused the fine line to be less define between childhood and adulthood (Kalinich, Klofas, & Stojkovic 2003).

Thinking for a juvenile offender is the fresh beginning of a new life after the age of 18 years of age, juvenile records are sealed. The idea that you can be treated and to understand a life of crime only makes life harder when becoming an adult.

Societal implications of abolishing juvenile court.

The juvenile system is set up to protect the best interest of the child. Since the change of crime and time juveniles are committing adult crimes. The system is so well establish. Judges preside over juvenile court in all states. The implication of doing away with the juvenile system will just only cause confusing and cause the system to obstruct the entire criminal justice system.

Recommendations for the future of the Juvenile Justice system.

The juvenile court of the future will likely remain in our society. The focus of the future juvenile court is to intervene on behalf of children and families in crisis. The court’s jurisdiction in the future maybe to focus less on delinquent cases that involved juveniles who are older and have committed serious crime. The focus of the best interest of the child will remain the foundation of the system (Roleff 2000)

The future of children’s rights lie in the hands of every state. The history of the juvenile justice system has brought its own political, economic, and social challenges, their will always be conservational issues. The future of the system is that children now have the real opportunity to express their voice and ideas on how they can improve their world.

The future goal should focus on early intervention, the juvenile court personnel must work outside the system to find the best for the child. A continuing characteristic of the system will always be age based jurisdiction (Roleff 2000).

The future trend in the juvenile system will be the issues of juveniles begin transferred to adult court. The fine line of juvenile court borderlines between adult courts of those juveniles who commit a serious crime. Risk Assessment is tools that are completed for every juvenile that enters the court system. The assessment should change with time, to fit the juvenile. These programs that are resulted from the assessment focus, on prevention or rehabilitation. Prevention programs are to prevent juveniles from becoming delinquents. Rehabilitation programs are to focus on reducing delinquency. And just maybe with their voice and their parents and the help of each state will conventionality change future ideas.

I work at the Pima County Adult Detention Center here in Tucson; the jail holds juveniles who have committed adult crimes in the West Facility. The unit is considered a specialized unit; the unit uses a point system to encourage positive behaviors. The treatment programs is totally different then the adult inmates. They also get hold meals and snacks every day. The jail also has schooling for the juveniles, which is required for them to attend. The unit also has another unit that hold new arrestees and those juveniles who are a threat to staff, or other inmates. I never really knew what happens to juveniles who commit serious crime until now.

With time the juvenile justice system will always change as time goes by. The Supreme Court will always hear cases that will make changes in the system. Crime is a increasing among our youths and will always be a challenging battle for us in the law enforcement community. All we can is to embrace change for the best and to understand the future lies in the hands of our children. As a Correction Officer for Pima County Sheriff Department I would like to see what happen in the aspect of juveniles in adult detention centers.


1. Allard, Paterica and Young, Malcolm. (2002). The Sentencing Project: Prosecuting Juveniles in Adult Court.

2. Juvenile Justice Bulletin. December (2003). Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved August 30, 2005, from University of Phoenix Web site: https://mycampus.phoenix.edu/secure/resource/resource.asp http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/ojjdp/201370.pdf http://faculty.ncwc.edu/toconnor/294/294lect01.htm .

3. Kalinich, D., Klofas, J., & Stojkovic, S. (2003). Criminal Justice Organizations. Retrieved August 30, 2005, from University of Phoenix Web site: https://mycampus.phoenix.edu/secure/resource/resource.asp

4. Roleff, Tamara. (2000). Crime and Criminal. Greenhaven Press, Inc.

5. Simmons, Adele. (2002). A century of juvenile justice. The University of Chicago Press.

6. White, Carter. (2002). Reclaiming incarcerated youths through education. Corrections Today Volt 64, Issue 2, Apr 2002. Record Number: 123325831.

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