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SECTION 1 Intro to Juvenile Justice

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1 SECTION 1 Intro to Juvenile Justice
Unit 2

2 Vocabulary Juvenile Minor Delinquent Delinquent Offender
A person not yet considered an adult for purposes of determining either criminal or civil liability; a minor. Minor A child; a person under the legal age of adulthood, usually 18 or 21 Delinquent Guilty of a misdeed or offense. Delinquent Offender A minor who has committed an act that, if committed by an adult, would be a crime under federal, state, or local law. Status Offender Youths who have committed acts that would not be crimes if committed by adults. (running away from home, skipping school, violating curfew, etc.) Considered to be unruly or beyond the control of their parents/legal guardians

3 Neglect Parent/guardian is charged with failing to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care for a child. Abuse When a child has been sexually, physically, or emotionally harmed. Parental Responsibility Laws Statues in which parents are held responsible and may be prosecuted for crimes committed by their children. Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor The act, by an adult, of aiding or encouraging illegal or improper conduct by a minor. Age of Majority The age (usually 18 or 21) at which a person becomes an adult, as specified by state law, and acquires both the rights and the responsibilities of adulthood.

4 History of the Court System
Children used to be treated the same as adults (prison – execution) Reformers argued that it was failure of the family unit that caused delinquent behavior. Children under the age of 7 were never held responsible for criminal acts. The law considered them incapable of forming the necessary criminal intent. Ages between 7-14 were also seen at the time as not being capable of committing a criminal act unless it could be proved that the child knew that the act was a crime or that it would cause harm to another and committed it anyways. Children over the age of 14 could be charged with a crime and handled in the same manner as an adult.

5 Juvenile courts were designed to be informal, allowing the court to act as a parent or guardian for the child. Meant to rehabilitate young offenders Permitted to do whatever it thought necessary to help the child The 1st Juvenile Court was created in 1899 Hearings were closed to the public Different terms were used from the adult system

6 Today, the court handles 3 types of juveniles: delinquent offenders, status offenders, and neglected and abused children. Continued to be defined by the tension between a “humanitarian” philosophy (rehabilitate the offender) and a “control” philosophy (punish the offender)

7 Different Terms – Same Meaning
Juvenile Law Offense Take into custody Petition Denial Admission Adjudicatory hearing Found delinquent Disposition Detention Aftercare Adult Law Crime Arrest File charges Not guilty plea Guilty plea Trial Found guilty Sentencing Jail Parole

8 Who Is A Juvenile? All states set limits to determine whether a person accused of a crime will be handled in adult or juvenile court. Most states consider young people as juveniles until age 18 Some states set the age limit at 16 or 17

9 Juvenile or Adult? In most states, juveniles charged with a serious felony such as robbery, assault, rape, or murder can be tried as an adult Completely up to the judge or state law to decide. Transfer Hearing (Waiver Hearing) Judge considers Juvenile’s age and past record Seriousness of the crime Likelihood that the juvenile may be rehabilitated before the age of consent

10 “Get-Tough” Attitude Many states have revised their juvenile codes to make it easier to transfer juveniles to adult court Most states give juvenile courts discretionary (flexible/unrestricted) power to designate appropriate cases for adult prosecution. Several states have provisions mandating the waiver of cases that meet a certain age and offense requirements Gang members involved in violent crime are often transferred to adult court under these provisions.

11 Status Offenses Issue/Problem
Acts that would not be crimes if committed by an adult Beyond control Habitually disobedient Truant from school Might be emotionally troubled who need help Many are runaways or young people with drinking and drug problems Some are trying to escape abusive or other difficult home situations.

12 National Statistics Estimated that 13 million youths are on the street each day 1 in 7 minors will run away each year Nearly 70% are between ages 14-17 More than 75% of runaways are girls Most runaways return home of their own accord, others are picked up by the police and referred to juvenile court

13 General Rule A single act of unruly behavior is not enough to support a finding that a juvenile is in need of court supervision. Most states require proof that the young person is habitually disobedient or has repeatedly run away, skipped school, or been out of control.

14 PINS – Person In Need of Supervision
Parents sometimes ask the court to file PINS due to problems at home. Children charged with status offenses may defend their conduct by showing that it was justified or that the parents were unreasonable and at fault. PINS petition might be withdrawn by the court and replaced by a neglect petition against the parents.

15 Juvenile Justice Today
1960s – juvenile court system was more harsh than in the adult system No procedural safeguards and constitutional rights were denied. 1966 – changes in the juvenile system occur through support of the U.S. Supreme Court

16 Delinquent Acts U.S. Supreme Court ruled that juveniles charged with delinquent acts are entitled to four rights. The right to notification of the charges against them The right to an attorney The right to confront and cross-examine witnesses The right to remain silent

17 Important Cases Gerald Gault (1960s) In re Winship (1970)
Decision gave young people accused of a crime many of the same rights as adults In re Winship (1970) U.S. Supreme Court decided by proof beyond a reasonable doubt McKeiver v. Pennsylvania (1971) U.S. Supreme Court decided that jury trials were not required in juvenile cases

18 Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974
Requires the Department of Justice to oversee changes ordered by Congress. Required the juvenile court system to change the way in which it treated status offenders and delinquent offenders Status offenders were removed from institutions/deinstitutionalized Offenders still in institutions were separated from incarcerated adults Each state took responsibility for developing community alternatives to incarceration and for improving the juvenile justice system

19 1980s – 1990s Communities became more concerned with crime
The juvenile court system was seen as being too soft on crime Public demanded harsher penalties of juveniles as well as adults Many suggested sending youth offenders to military-style “boot camps” Some even called for ending the juvenile court system altogether

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