Juvenile and Adult Courts: a Comparative Analysis

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Juvenile and Adult Courts: A Comparative Analysis

Amanda LaRoche


May 17, 2014

Debra Nadeau

Juvenile and Adult Courts: A Comparative Analysis

In the United States, there exists a complex court system. This system punishes and helps to rehabilitate individuals who have broken the law or solve a dispute between people or businesses. In this system, there is a juvenile court system that is separate from the adult court system also known as a criminal court. In early America juveniles were tried the same as an adult. It wasn’t until 1899 when the state of Illinois passed the Juvenile Court Act of 1899. ("The Juvenile Justice System Was Founded On the Concept of Rehabilitation through Individualized Justice", 1999). The new act ensured that juveniles were tried in a separate court system than adults because of their tender nature, and their possibility for rehabilitation before adulthood. That system still exists in modern times with many changes that have enhanced how juveniles are treated in the eyes of the law. Juveniles are charges as such unless there is a law that they can be charged as an adult for certain reasons or certain crimes. In those cases, they will be then transferred into adult court, which looks at punishment and rehabilitation in a very different way.

Juvenile Court and Adult Court Differences

One of the most significant differences between juvenile and adult court is when a juvenile is charged for a crime, it is considered a civil adjudication (Champion, 2010). Their record is only kept on their record until they become the age of eighteen. After that time, their charges are expunged. Whereas, in the criminal court system for adults, charges are kept on their record for the rest of their life. This allows the juvenile to have a fresh start when they turn eighteen, giving them another chance to be a productive member of society without their mistakes staying on their record to be used against...