When a juvenile offender is taken to the justice system, different rule are used in charging the offender. The juvenile is typically put under the justice system, if they are less than 18 years of age. However, the rules of judgment are subject to variation depending on the severity of the case. The paper herein shall succinctly address the Juvenile crime issues which are inclusive of the comparative analysis of the juvenile court and the adult court, and define the term delinquency and lastly discuss on the variables that correlate with the Juvenile crime rates (Fagan, 1996).
The Juvenile court and Adult court
There are numerous noteworthy differences between the Juvenile courts and the adult courts. For a very long time, the judicial system has been so lenient within the juvenile courts. In the juvenile court, rehabilitation is given a first priority. However, in adult court system, due process and reprisal are the most valued than even the offenders (Bishop, Et al., 1996).
There is also a major aspect that brings a difference between the juvenile and the adult courts, and this based on the terminology that is used in the ruling process. For the juvenile offenders that are brought into judgment, the term refers such a circumstance as an “Act of Delinquency”. While as within the Adult court environment the terminology used is “crime” (Fagan, 1996). In essence, in Juvenile courts, delinquency is substituted to a crime in Adult courts.
Another major disparity between the Juvenile and the Adult courts is the manner in which the juvenile historical background is considered in the ruling. For example, for juvenile offenders academic and history of the family has to be taken into consideration before any ruling is passed, and, this does not happen in Adult court system. Adults do not receive such favors when they are brought into judgment (Bishop, Et al., 1996).
Together with that, the juvenile court system tends to be interested in the individualized remedy of the delinquent, as opposed to the adult courts, whereby the judgment passed may be determined by the way the community perceives the illegal behavior committed and whether it is acceptable in the community’s social norms. For this reason, every wrong committed, has a subsequent punishment based on the intensity of the crime. It, therefore, becomes clear that, adults are never given any special focus in their ruling and the society is much moved by the behaviors of their children and tends to protect and mould them at their tender ages (Fagan, 1996).
Furthermore, in their ruling, the Juvenile courts follow some steps. They start with the terminology, Delinquent, and the act is called the delinquent act. This differs in the adult courts; the individual is referred as a criminal. It is clear that, from the commencement of the two court system, there is labeling of the case and the persons involved. Juveniles are called the delinquents, while adults are referred as criminals. This is what we are referring as labeling (Bishop, Et al., 1996). There is also a great difference between the two court systems while it comes to the matters of arresting process. The juvenile delinquent is not detained like adults; they are rather put behind bars. Also, an adult goes through the process of prosecution, while as a juvenile has an appellation that is filed against them. A juvenile is also given an opportunity to either consent to or deny the petition filed against him. This is rather different in the Adult court system, the criminal must ether plea to be guilty or innocent or neither and wait for the judgment.
As said in the beginning, there is a lot of leniency in the juvenile court system, in that; a delinquent case can even be adjusted. This is called plea bargain in the adult court system, but, there is a great disparity between the two. In the juvenile court, the court makes a decision whether the delinquent should remain in custody or taken into child care center. On the other hands, it is at the discretion of the court to either send the criminals into, or take them back to jail (Fagan, 1996).
While a juvenile would face a substitution of the felony committed by either being detained or taken into child care shelter, an adult would be sent to jail as a way of reducing the charges. Thereafter, the juvenile would go through adjudication, which is referred as fact finding hearing (Bishop, Et al., 1996). This is referred as a trail in adult court system. After the juveniles are arbitrated, then, there is dispositional hearing of their case, rather after the adults are convicted, a sentence follows. The sentence of the juveniles may range from being taken into a youth center, or taken into a training school. The adult may either be incarcerated, or imprisonment that is equivalent to the crimes committed.
While as the juveniles may be referred to a child care shelter, adults may either be put under probation or taken into a halfway house (Fagan, 1996). Lastly, there are some other important considerations that are prioritized while dealing with delinquent cases, for instance the age and the nature of the felony. Based on these two special considerations, the trial between the juvenile and the adult becomes far much different. There are some variables that highly correlate with Juvenile crime rates and they include; child abuse, alcoholism and use of drugs, harassment, withdrawal from school, depression, distress, single or lack of parenthood and so forth. These variables are also taken into consideration during the trail (Bishop, Et al., 1996).
Bishop, D.M., Frazier, C. E., Lanzo-Kaduce, L., and Winner, L. (1996). The transfer of juveniles
to criminal court: Does it make a difference? Crime and Delinquency, 42, 17-191.
Fagan, J. (1996). The comparative advantages of juvenile vs. criminal court sanctions on
recidivism among adolescent felony offenders. Law and Policy, 18, 77-114.