Juvenile Justice V. Adult Justice

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Juvenile Delinquency:

Juvenile Justice v. Adult Justice

Shandi Lillard

CJ 150 – 02

Professor Raymond Keefauvor

June 7, 2011

Juvenile Delinquency:

Juvenile System v. Adult System

There are many differences between the juvenile and adult justice systems. However, there are also a few similarities. This paper will discuss those differences and similarities, as well as whether there is still a need to have a separate juvenile system.

One of the main differences between the juvenile and adult justice system is that in the juvenile system, the focus is placed on rehabilitation and the treatment of the issues that the youth in these facilities might be facing, such as lack of education, drug and alcohol use/abuse, or abuse at the hands of another. In the adult justice system, the focus is placed on punishment for the actions of the inmates; punishment in the juvenile system is used as a last resort (LAO.Gov, 2007).

In 1899, when the first juvenile court was started in Chicago Illinois, an emphasis was placed on individualizing each case, taking in to account the youths family history, prior “criminal” history, age, and nature of the crime as well as the reasoning behind that crime. Judges based their decisions on these factors rather than having a set consequence for each action, the easiest way to understand that is by saying that there was no such thing as case law in the juvenile system. By allowing each case to be individualized, the youth could be placed in the proper program and thereby have a greater chance at rehabilitation (Butts, Mitchell, 2000). Due to juvenile cases being viewed in this manner, due process was not something that was thought of as going hand in hand with juvenile courts. However, because of the emphasis on punishment in adult courts, and the practice of matching crime to consequence, due process was a right that adult offenders were given (Butts, Mitchell, 2000).

It wasn’t until the 1960’s that the rights of due process...