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Juvenile Justice. History O The first juvenile court was created in 1899 in Cook County, IL O It was founded on the idea that juvenile offenders don’t.

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Presentation on theme: "Juvenile Justice. History O The first juvenile court was created in 1899 in Cook County, IL O It was founded on the idea that juvenile offenders don’t."— Presentation transcript:

1 Juvenile Justice

2 History O The first juvenile court was created in 1899 in Cook County, IL O It was founded on the idea that juvenile offenders don’t just need punishment – they also need protection and rehabilitation. O Sometimes parents cannot (or will not) take care or control of their children, so the government must step in and take over O Parens patriae: O Literally means “parent of the country” in Latin O It is interpreted to mean that the court can assume the role of a parent in teaching the child O Juvenile courts were designed to be informal O Moralistic approach O Teach them community values

3 History O Before 1967, juveniles did not have the same Due Process rights that adults did. O Due Process rights are spelled out by the Constitution O In re Gault: In 1967, the Supreme Court decided In re Gault and held that juveniles deserve the same rights to Due Process, including: O The right to notification of the charges against them O The right to an attorney O The right to confront and cross-examine witnesses O The right to remain silent

4 Procedures of juvenile court (Green stands for the term that would be used in adult court) Commits offense (crime)  Taken into custody (arrested)  Intake: Interview to consider the seriousness of the offense  Initial or Detention hearing: State proves that an offense was committed and that there is reasonable cause to believe that the accused committed it

5 Procedures of juvenile court Adjudicatory hearing (trial): Fact-finding hearing to determine the facts of the case. Closed to the public (unlike adult trials)  Dispositional hearing: Judge decides what sentence, or disposition, the offender should receive. The sentence is based on the predisposition report, which is a result of an investigation of the juvenile’s background

6 Procedures of juvenile court  Probation OR Juvenile institution (jail)

7 Probation O Probation is the most common disposition O On probation, a juvenile must follow a set of conditions and meet regularly with a probation officer to make sure they are meeting their conditions. O The juvenile may be ordered to: O Attend school regularly O Hold a steady job O Attend counseling sessions O Take weekly drug tests O Be home by 8:00 pm O Stay away from certain people

8 Types of juvenile cases O Delinquent offenders: Youths who have committed acts that would be considered crimes if committed by adults under federal, state, and local law. O For example, the 12-year-old in In re Winship stole $112 from a woman, which would be considered larceny had he been an adult.

9 Types of juvenile cases: Status offenders O Status offenders: Youth who have committed acts that would not be crimes if committed by adults O For example: O Running away from home O Skipping school O Violating curfew O Refusing to obey parents O Underage consumption of alcohol

10 Status offenders continued O Status offenders may be emotionally troubled, consistently disobedient, or have alcohol and drug problems. O Other offenders may be trying to escape abusive or difficult home situations. O However, a single act of unruly behavior is not enough to say that a juvenile is in need of court supervision. O Most states require proof that the young person is “out of control” O Status offenders make up 20% of all juvenile arrests

11 Types of juvenile cases O Neglected or abused children: These children need the court’s protection from a parent or guardian. O Case of neglect: Parent/guardian is charged with failing to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, or medical care O Case of abuse: Child has been sexually, physically, or emotionally abused O In either case, the court has to decide if the child should stay with the family, with other relatives, or in foster care.

12 Transferring juveniles to adult court O Juvenile court jurisdiction extends through age 17 O Juvenile waiver: Allows juvenile court judges to “waive” juveniles to adult court for prosecution (after a hearing) O Statutory exclusion: This is an automatic transfer. A state law requires certain offenses committed by juveniles to be prosecuted in adult court O Direct File: Gives prosecutors discretion to file charges against juveniles in adult criminal court

13 Should juveniles be tried as adults? O Young offenders who are convicted in the adult criminal system almost always face harsher sentences O They are in jail with adult criminals O They don’t always receive rehabilitation programs like they would in juvenile correctional facilities O Their criminal records are permanent and public O Juvenile records, though, are usually sealed from the public

14 Should juveniles be tried as adults? O In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that states may not impose the death penalty on offenders who were under the age of 18 when they committed their crimes O In 2010, they ruled that juveniles who commit crimes in which no one was killed may not be sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole O They thought that would be “cruel and unusual punishment,” which is prohibited by the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution

15 Illinois law O In Illinois, someone as young as 13 can be sent to the adult court if he/she is accused of murder, armed robbery, unlawful use of weapons on school grounds, and other serious offenses (see handout) O In Mexico and most Latin American countries, juveniles can never be sent to the adult criminal system

16 Arguments FOR punishing young offenders as adults O Retribution: Offenders should be punished in proportion to the offense they committed O Violent offenders deserve the most punishment possible under the law O This gives the victims (or family of the victims) a sense of justice O “They got what they deserved”

17 Arguments FOR punishing young offenders as adults O Deterrence: Youth who know they could be sent to an adult prison may be deterred (or discouraged) from committing those crimes O It is sometimes believed that gang members and drug lords recruit young people to commit crimes for them, knowing that they will receive less serious punishments O Therefore, adult-level punishment would deter this from happening

18 Arguments FOR punishing young offenders as adults O Keeping society safe O Violent people should be behind bars so they cannot commit more crimes O If they are in the juvenile system, they are free once they become adults

19 Example: El Ponchis O Mexican authorities recently arrested “El Ponchis,” a 14-year-old who is accused of beheading 4 people and pushing their bodies off a bridge. O Why did he commit such a heinous crime? O His father says he was told to do so by older members of a drug cartel O Under Mexican law, he would be tried in the juvenile system and would serve a maximum of only 3 years in juvenile detention

20 Arguments AGAINST punishing young offenders as adults O Young delinquents become worse criminals when they are exposed to adult prisoners O Research shows that youth punished in the adults are TWICE as likely to re-offend O Therefore, punishing youth as adults does not reduce crime

21 Arguments AGAINST punishing young offenders as adults O Most juvenile facilities provide better education programs than adult prisons O Is this true? O

22 Arguments AGAINST punishing young offenders as adults O Brain development: Scientists have generated new evidence about human brain development O Brains do not fully mature until the age of about 25 O The parts of the brain that control anger and allow people to anticipate consequences are particularly slow to develop O Therefore, adolescents are not fully capable of controlling their impulses or actions

23 Arguments AGAINST punishing young offenders as adults O Young people are not considered adults until they are 18 in all other aspects O Voting O Military O Taking out loans

24 What do you think?


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