THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM
Origins of the Juvenile Justice System Juvenile Court Jurisdiction
Deﬁning Delinquency Deﬁning a Juvenile
After completing this chapter, you should be able to: 1. Describe the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. 2. Explain what is meant by delinquency. 3. Explain what is meant by status offenses. 4. Compare the ways in which the various states deﬁne a juvenile. 5. Identify and deﬁne the unique terms used in the juvenile justice system. 6. Outline the three major steps in the juvenile justice process. 7. Describe the ﬁve decision points in the juvenile justice process.
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In fact, because of their immaturity, it was believed that some juveniles could more easily be rehabilitated. Based on assumptions that juveniles are less mature than adults, incapable of the same level of intent as adults, and more easily rehabilitated, a separate system of justice was developed in the late 1800s to deal exclusively with juveniles. This system is known as the juvenile justice system. Eventually, every state developed a separate juvenile justice system with its own set of courts and institutions. The juvenile justice system is comprised of those agencies whose primary duty is to manage juvenile offenders. Today, most major police departments have ofﬁcers whose sole responsibility is to deal with juvenile delinquency. In fact, because of recent school shooting incidents, many departments have ofﬁcers regularly assigned to local elementary and secondary schools in their communities. In addition, every state has juvenile courts with their own judges, probation departments, and prosecutors. Furthermore, every state has separate places such as detention centers and institutions in order to conﬁne juveniles apart from adults. The juvenile justice system was founded on the belief of parens patriae, roughly translated into “state as parent.” The state, acting through a juvenile court judge, can act in the role of parent for the juvenile when parents are deemed incapable or unwilling to control their children. Therefore, the juvenile justice system was designed to do whatever is in the best interest of the juvenile, just as a parent should. The juvenile justice system has evolved signiﬁcantly from its origins, which will be discussed in later chapters. 1 . 1 S E L F- C H E C K This chapter describes the juvenile justice system. Deﬁnitions of a juvenile and the types of cases conWhat assumptions led to the establishment of a separate system of fronting the juvenile justice system are given. The deﬁjustice for juvenile offenders? nitions of terms used exclusively in the juvenile justice system, a brief overview of the major steps in the juvenile justice process, and an explanation of how juveniles are typically processed will be provided. The similarities and differences juvenile justice system The system of between the adult and juvenile justice systems are also discussed.
agencies that is designed to handle juvenile offenders.
parens patriae A legal doctrine in which the state plays the role of a parent.
jurisdiction The authority granted by law to hear a case.
Juvenile Court Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is the authority to hear a case. State law, in what is commonly referred to as a juvenile or family code, speciﬁes the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. The concept of jurisdiction involves the answers to two questions:
The Juvenile Justice System
CHAPTER ONE 5
1. For what acts committed by juveniles does the juvenile court have jurisdiction? 2. What age does an individual have to be in order to be under juvenile court...