Comparative Analysis on the Juvenile Justice and the Adult Court Systems

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This paper will examine the many differences between juvenile justices and adult court systems. As you may already know, there are two different correction facilities people can go to. Juvenile is for the young adults not above the age of eighteen and the adult court systems is the court where you can go if you are above the age of eighteen.

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In this paper, you will find out if there should be separate juvenile justice systems, how the two justices systems differ and the different terminology between the adult and juvenile systems and why they are important. Since juvenile institutions differ from adult institutions, it effects institutional management and you will figure out how. You will also find out about how I feel about it being two separate distinct systems.

I agree that there ought to be two distinct systems because adults and young adults should be treated differently, although they are participating in illegal acts there should be two systems. We should have two separate systems because young adults need to be separated from adults and, it is a sense of fairness. Young adults may not be able to take the same punishment as an adult and juveniles and adults should be treated differently. Also, if they were to place everyone into one system that would cause some overcrowding as well. If overcrowding does happen to happen, then more people are bound to get abused more than they already do in jail. The conditions in any correctional facility are already poor but to have an overcrowded one would probably make matter worse. If you mix adults and juveniles together in one, then that becomes very unjust and unfair. The juvenile justice system is over 100 years old. It was created to address court cases for individuals under the age of eighteen. In the nineteenth century, there was a line drawn to separate juveniles and adults. Today, the setup of juveniles remains the same as it did hundreds of years ago. What has changed is the rights that juveniles have while getting their way through the system. Depending on the juveniles age and how serious the offense is, he or she could face a bind over. A bind over is a proceeding to determine if the juvenile should be tried as an adult in court instead of as a minor (N.D.)

Being that there are two separate criminal justice systems, that comes with different terminology. There are many different terminologies because officers and families need to be able to identify if it is a child or an adult. In the juvenile system, you have words like delinquent instead of criminal, hearing instead of trial, order to appear instead of warrant for arrest, disposition instead of sentence and held in detention instead of imprisoned. I am pretty sure you can tell which words belong with the juvenile system and the criminal justice system. The words we use to identify a juvenile is less harsh than the words we use to identify an adult. If you think about it, a twelve-year-old offender does not a high enough level of maturity, experience, decision making, wisdom or thought process that a twenty-four-year-old should have so to be harsher on a juvenile is not okay. Although in both systems, the defender has the right to avoid self-incrimination, an attorney, and cross examine any witnesses. The court must find the defendant guilty beyond reasonable doubt to convict him or her, regardless of the age.

The juvenile court system differs from the adult court system because the juvenile system focuses more on the rehabilitation of youth and trying to keep them furthermore out of trouble. When a juvenile is put into a detention center, they are offered diversion, counseling services, and community service and other things to try and keep them out of jail or going back to jail. There is a difference in court proceedings. Because a juvenile is not an adult, they are not given the right to a public trial by jury. The judge decides the case alone. However, both adults and minors have the right to give a testimony and have their witnesses heard in court. When an adult is found guilty of a crime, the focus of their case is the punishment whereas the juvenile court system focuses on trying to rehabilitate the minor because they are so young and still have a whole life ahead of them to live. They do not want them to make the same mistake later in their adult life and really be incarcerated. The juvenile court system was designated to giver underage offenders that second chance in life and keep them out of prisons.

Psychologically speaking, the problem is with the parents and not the child, meaning it is the parent’s job to teach their kids right from wrong, morals, responsibilities, and values. Teaching minors about not handling something that is dangerous or getting them to understand the consequences of their actions is the job of the parents. If they fail to do so, then the child will never understand what it is that they are doing wrong and will continue to get in trouble with the law later in life. Since people now and days takes the whole age factor into consideration when it comes to important issues like voting, jobs, and marriage, because we know that the same cannot be expected from a child, then why should it be okay to give the same cruel forms of punishment to a juvenile the same way for an adult? It is not okay, and the juvenile still has learning to do. We all must bump our heads a few times to understand that some things are more serious and learn from that mistake. The difference in being arrested and detained is when you are arrested, you are taken into custody and cannot leave. When you are detained, that means for a short amount of time but always remember you are protected under the fifth amendment and you have the right to remain silent. A hearing can be described as a legal gathering where the judge discusses and decides the case, in the presences of other parties. A trial is referred to the judicial proceeding in which evidence and facts are given to find out if innocent or guilty.

Some juveniles do not need a high level of security and control, so they can be placed in what we call residential treatment programs. Residential treatment programs are ran by social service departments or probation departments. The child must follow strict rules such as coming back to the facility before curfew and avoiding alcoholic beverages, which they should not be engaged with anyway because anyone placed in a RTP is under the age of twenty-one. Residential treatment programs are divided into four categories: foster care programs, group homes, family group homes, and rural programs. A foster care program is where a couple basically adopts the juvenile and the juvenile lives with them and the couple acts as if they were the parents. A group home is designed for children between the age of twelve and fifteen and it provides education services, counseling, and treatment from professional staff. Family group homes are homes that combine group homes and foster care together, which means that one family member rather than a group of professionals, look after the necessities of the offender. Then we have a rural program, a rural program includes ranches, camps and farms where thirty to fifty children are put into place and the environment provides recreational activities to keep the children involved and out of the streets.

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