Unit 7 Project: Adult VS Juvenile Justice System
Professor Raymond Keefauver
July 22, 2013
In the past, there was no distinction between adult offenders and juvenile offenders. All criminals were tried as adults, no matter what the age or crime. Children as young as seven could stand trial and be sentenced to prison or even to death. In 1899, Illinois established the first juvenile court and the systems between adults and juveniles started to change. Although the adult justice system and juvenile justice system appear similar, there are also some major differences between them. (Bilchik, 1999)
One thing that did not change with the establishment off the first juvenile court is that both systems still have many of the same rights. Regardless of the age, adult or juvenile, both have the right to an attorney, the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, the privilege against self-incrimination, the right to notice of the charges, and the prosecution must provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt before a person can be convicted. (LaMance, 2012). The rights to any offender is important and needs to be in place in any court proceeding.
At the time of arrest is when the differences between adults and juveniles begin. When a juvenile is first apprehended, it is up to law enforcement to decide whether to release him or make a referral to the juvenile court. According to Siegal, “cases involving serious crimes against property or persons are often referred to court. Less serious cases such as disputes between juveniles, petty shoplifting, runaways, and assaults of minors, are often diverted from court action.” One of the main differences between adult and juvenile arrests is that police have more control over a juvenile’s behavior than an adult’s behavior. This leads to the authority for the police to act in loco parentis, or “in place of the parent”. This allows the police to take...