Juvenile Justice Systems and Adult Criminal Justice System share some of the same procedures when dealing with specific crimes but differ according to age and the severity of the crime committed. They both take into account the mental state of an individual when determining the outcome of a crime and what components led to that individual committing that crime. Juvenile Justice System is a system specifically designed to handle delinquents who have committed crimes and will either be sent to rehabilitation or adjudicated and sentenced.
It is a system in which is applied to youth under the age of 18 who are seen not to be old enough to be held accountable for their delinquent acts. The Juvenile Justice System aims to alter a juveniles life in forms of rehabilitation, treatment needs, developmental skills, and the way they view the world before they lead down a road of destruction. Juvenile Justice Systems were first established in 1899 in Illinois, which then led to the expansion nationwide.
Before the juvenile justice system was established, juveniles were determined as “miniature adults” which resulted in them taking on adult consequences. For example, as the progressive era occurred, which was a period in the United States during the 1890s throughout 1920s, that was seen to abolish any problems that arose from issues such as immigration, political corruption and industrialization.
During this period many children were in the streets which then made them become more heavily prone to indulge in criminal acts. These children would then be adjudicated and placed in institutions with adults, who would teach and instill all of their criminality onto them.
Once the child was released they would take part in other activities that they were not once familiar with, but after conversing with older criminals their criminal platform expanded. Institutions began to realize the outcomes and that is when separate facilities were developed (Findlaw 1). According to Raina Ando, within Juvenile Court the intended outcome was to treat individualized children for specific needs but while in the process that child’s due process was violated. The Juvenile Justice System is seen to be a rehabilitation center for youth rather than incarceration which is more affiliated with adult criminals. The Juvenile Justice System aims at reforming a youths’ life course before they get older and are not able to escape some of their actions.
According to the Juvenile Law Center juveniles within the Juvenile Justice System are seen to be “less blameworthy, and they have a greater capacity for change”. This statement is commonly used because people believe most juveniles are either influenced or do not have the proper guidance. In many cases you have juveniles who have a healthy functioning home, a positive atmosphere in which they grow up in and still commit delinquent acts. Many juveniles are highly intelligent when it comes to particular aspects of crime due to what they are exposed to as they grow up or what is force upon them and they have no idea on how to restrain themselves away from that mentality. As the years have gone on, juveniles are now given the same legal rights as a adult would receive, in the sense of them holding the same constitutional rights.
The Adult Criminal Justice system has been around for several years, and as the years progressed the system became more lenient on certain things but not where the criminals were able to get comfortable. The severity of the courts have lessened within the generation now. In addition, when dealing with the Adult Criminal Justice System they are less limited to certain aspects that are available to juveniles. The Adult Criminal Justice system is set up into different agencies that handle particular situations. These agencies are state and federal, where state deals with crimes committed within the boundaries of a particular state, while federal deals with criminal acts committed on a federal property or in multiple states. Moreover, as I stated above the primary goal for juveniles is rehabilitation to prevent them from further damage to their future. Whereas, for adult criminals, rehabilitation is not considered a necessity due to the fact that they are fully developed and competent enough to understand the awareness of their actions.
When it comes to adults, they have treated more firmly because the crimes that they commit are considered blameworthy and need to held responsibly. In some cases many adult criminals either are dealing with traumatic experiences or some form of mental illness that is not taken into consideration until after their sentencing. Furthermore, the primary goal of the Adult Criminal Justice system is a disciplinary action. Punitive measures are always an option when dealing with an adult case due to the fact that they are of age and should be fully capable of knowing the rights and wrongs of their actions. Also, most adult cases deal with atrocities that are in need of punishment but not at all times. Comparatively, both systems retain several of the same rights such as the right to an attorney, right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, a privilege to self-incrimination, awareness of the charges being brought upon them, and proof of reasonable doubt. Beings though both systems obtain some of the same rights does not mean both systems follow the same procedural orders.
Juveniles go through a more thorough process due to age and crime severity rather than an adult who is fully aware and should be held accountable automatically. The Adult Criminal Justice system works in a process that consist of reporting, investigating, arrest and citation, which then leads into prosecution. In the prosecution stage it is comprised of the charges being brought upon the defendant, their first court appearance, a determination on whether or not they are eligible for bail/bond, the preliminary hearing, then the arraignment. Following, leading to the trial process which is composed if the plea agreements and the actual trail. Lastly, is the post-trail which includes the sentencing phase and/or the authorization of probation/parole.
Juvenile Justice System is broken into three parts which are police, juvenile court, and juvenile corrections. Each of these branches deals with specific actions and procedures. When a juvenile and police officer come into contact most commonly the interaction and response will be negative. The pessimistic actions can come from either the juvenile or the officer or even both but in most cases, it is the juvenile because they feel as though the officer is picking on them or they are about to be harmed. Now when it comes down to the officer responding negatively so many things can come into play. For instance, that officer is having a bad day, he is just picking, the officer is a bad officer, the officer is honestly doing their intended job, as society would insert as the officer having racial preferences, and a fear for his/ her life. Following, when an officer is in the process of arresting a juvenile they must have reasonable doubt that a crime of some sort is being committed (Castaneda, Legal Guide 1).
For instance, juveniles can be charged with both felonies or misdemeanors but most commonly they will be charged on a misdemeanor offense. When it comes to a juvenile being charged with a felony they first have to go through juvenile court to see if they qualify for adult criminal court and probable cause has to be implemented in order to believe the crime was committed. An officer does not have to visually see a juvenile commit a misdemeanor in order to bring them into custody. When an adult and police officer interacts the initial reaction is also negative on the adult side which then results in the officer being negative. Most commonly the only reason that police interacts with another adult is that they witnessed illegal conduct occurring and are doing their designated job. Most importantly, when an officer is about to place an adult under arrest they must recite them their Miranda Rights. The Miranda Rights state “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you in the court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.” (FindLaw, How Does the Criminal Justice System Work?). Another reason that may result in the arrest of an adult is that that police officer who has taken action believes that the suspect fits an accurate description of the information that has been provided to him and has a sufficient amount of evidence to prove probable cause to follow through with an immediate arrest. (Maricopa County Attorney’s Office)
Within Juvenile Court there are different individuals present when dealing with a juvenile case. The individuals that are present within a juvenile court consist of the Judge, the clerk, the bailiff, the defendant with their legal representation and the prosecutor. More lienet precautions are carried out within the juvenile court due to the fact of age and mental competency. As reported by FindLaw, “the purpose of a juvenile sentence is not to punish. Instead, the primary goal is to rehabilitate the juvenile so they can go on to live a productive adult life.” With this being said, the juvenile system tries to find the positives within juveniles because they are considered to not completely know what they are doing. In other words, juveniles have to be handled with the proper care and measures so that they do not reoffend or commit any other heinous acts. As stated by Raina Ando, “Today, juvenile courts try to use diversion programs or drug court programs to help juveniles, rather than incarcerate youths if they can be successfully rehabilitated.”
Rehabilitation is the number one factor when it comes to juveniles because they are seen to be easily persuaded so if there are programs that can benefit them in some sort of way those are the tactics that will be used. Also, beings though they are easily influenced the programs can instill certain strategies that will keep juveniles interested, rather than them doing something that will hinder them for the rest of their lives. During juvenile court proceedings, that juvenile is charged with a document called a “Petition” rather than a adult who is charged with a “Complaint” (Bruno Law). Moreover, when a juvenile is found guilty they are determined to be an “adjudicated delinquent, whereas in adult court the defendant is convicted. Lastly, when dealing with Juvenile court after determining the outcome of the juvenile there is a disposition put in place to dictate what form of rehabilitation to put in affect. In adult criminal court, all of the evidence is focused upon legal facts. (Frontline, Juvenile vs Adult Justice) During the proceedings of a trial in adult court are a group of individuals that are present that influences the judges outcome of the crime committed called the jury.
Whereas in juvenile court there is no jury present, which results in the juvenile having what you call “adjudication hearings” (FindLaw, How do Juvenile Proceedings Differ from Adult Criminal Proceedings?). All juvenile cases are determined by the judge alone. When a jury is present in adult criminal court the jury must be composed of different genders and ethnicities so that the verdict is not biased (FindLaw, Criminal Justice System: Courts). In other words, the jury sets the tone of the court which then the judge follows up with. As stated by Maricopa County, “The jury must agree unanimously in order to find the defendant guilty or not guilty. If the jury returns a “not guilty” verdict, this means that, in the jury’s opinion, the State failed to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt and the defendant is released. The State cannot appeal the jury’s verdict and the matter cannot be retried. If the jury returns a verdict of “guilty,” the Judge sets a sentencing date.” With this being said the jury technically determines the outcome of the defendant’s case. Moreover, the aim in adult criminal court is punishment so that the individual is not likely to re-offend or commit another crime. While the aim in juvenile court is rehabilitation in believing that they can hopefully and successfully sway that juvenile from potentially ending up in adult prison when they become of age. (Hirby, Difference Between Juvenile And Adult Justice Systems).
As far as rehabilitation goes in the detention facilities not much rehabilitating is being implemented. It just seems to be as if they place the juveniles in these facilities and forget that the goal is to form them into law-abiding citizens, instead they treat them as a regular criminal. For instance, these facilities are implemented to provide education and as stated by the Juvenile Law Center “While many youth prisons are called “schools,” few of these facilities provide quality education services, nor do they provide access to mental health care or other services children need to heal.” With this being said not many actions are being enforced in order to deter that child from being a offender. The necessary acts to transition that child into adulthood are not being strongly recognized in the sense of seriousness. In addition, several juveniles are being placed in solitary confinement in these facilities for up to an entire day which results in the youth committing physical injury to oneself as well as “emotional trauma and psychological harm, and interrupt healthy development” (Juvenile Law Center, Children in Prison) The article also explains the negative effects of locking a juvenile up for long periods of time can result in nothing but more negative behavior. With the aggression build-up causes the juvenile to want to react more aggressively and unconsciously. Furthermore, when that juvenile is seen to be fully rehabilitated and released back into the community they often reoffend or commit other delinquent acts. In the adult correctional facilities, the officers have to be more assertive due to them being constantly threatened and physically assaulted. Not saying that officers are not assaulted in juvenile detention centers but it happens more often in adult facilities. When the defendant is found guilty they are then judge puts in place a date for sentencing.
Throughout the sentencing phase, the judge can issue that the defendant complete prison time, pay the government a certain amount of money and that they pay restitution to the crime victims (United State Courts). Incarceration is commonly associated with criminal trials in the sense that the defendant has either pleaded guilty or was found guilty. There are two forms of incarceration which consist of jail and prison. When an adult is placed in jail they are often in counties for less serious offenses with the time period not exceeding more than a year. Whereas if an individual is placed in prison they have committed an offense pertaining to a felony and are seen to serve time in prison for more than a year (FindLaw, How Does the Criminal Justice System Work?).
In many cases, there are juveniles are convicted as adults but are placed into juvenile detention centers until they reach the age of 18. Once they are 18 years of age, they are then transferred to adult prison which results in massive emotional and physical abuse. Those young individuals are among criminals that have committed heinous crimes and have been imprisoned for years. When those individuals are exposed to that environment they are then seen to be easy targets. While in prison they are physically assaulted all the time and beings though they are so young they are naive to certain situations. Their vulnerability is the first thing spotted when arriving the adult prison which later results in them being killed or either taking their own lives.
In conclusion, both Juvenile and Adult Justice Systems intertwine but focus on specific aspects. The juvenile justice system aims directly at rehabilitation in the light of shifting that youth’s life before adulthood. The act of rehabilitation will only be effective if that juvenile wants to change for themselves. Even though the system does everything they can to make sure that individual was fully rehabilitated it is only up to that juvenile to act on what has been implemented. When it comes to juvenile constantly committing delinquent acts, I see it as if they are testing the system because of their age and feel as though they can not be ruled out the same consequences as an adult. In my opinion I feel as though the juvenile justice system is too lenient on juveniles because they are seen capable or “committing any wrong” when in reality they are fully aware. If the system becomes more firm and adamant on these juveniles there will not be as many juveniles committing delinquent acts anymore because they are not going to want to deal with the consequences. Meanwhile, in the adult criminal justice sytem