CheckPoint: Juvenile Court Process
The first encounter a youth has with the juvenile justice system is usually his or her arrest by a law enforcement official. Other ways that youth enter the system include "referrals" by parents and schools, delinquency victims, and probation officers. A decision is usually made after arrest as to whether a youth should be detained and charged, released, or transferred into another youth welfare program. When a juvenile court case reaches the juvenile probation department, an intake officer will decide whether to dismiss it, handle it informally, or hear it formally. To make ...view middle of the document...
Cases receive an "informal disposition" by a judge when a youth admits guilt and agrees to settle the charges by meeting the requirements of the court, which are laid out in a "consent decree." Among these requirements may be:
• Restitution - juvenile is required to reimburse the victim or pay a fine to the community for damages he has caused.
• Mandatory curfew - juvenile is subject to a strict curfew.
• School attendance - juvenile is required to attend school regularly.
• Rehabilitation - juvenile is required to participate in drug or other rehabilitation programs.
If, upon assessment of a juvenile's case, a formal hearing is deemed necessary, an initial decision must be made as to how the case will be heard. In many states, specified cases may be heard in either juvenile or criminal court.
I feel that in most cases the guidelines in juvenile court are fair. In the instance where a crime is so heinous that a youthful offender be tried as an adult, this is fair also. To me it seems as if the juvenile is reached early enough there can be a positive outcome. I base this assessment on personal experience since I was a multiple teenage runaway and went before juvenile court 3 times by the time I was 14. My life was changed for the better after this experience by learning how to cope with many of the issues I had due to anger over my parents divorcing.