Prohibition and prevention of all forms violence that might be inflicted on the juvenile must be enforced so that the child’s dignity is maintained. There is substantial evidence showing the persistent violence that has existed in all juvenile justice system phases. This happens since the first contact with the police all the way to pre-trial, treatment period, and other liberty deprivation facilities.
The law has clear landmarks that require perpetrators of such offensive violence to be brought to justice in an effort to create effective follow up of the law statutes. It has also been noted over time that the judicial system legitimately aims at public safety preservation (Janice, 1995, p. 22). From this point of view, the best way to serve this aim is through full implementation and respect of the overarching and leading juvenile justice principles. There is significant variation of the specific rights that are accorded to juvenile offenders in different states.
There are those that will give juveniles the right to a jury trial while others do not, although all juvenile courts are relatively similar in the sense that most of them tend to apply less formalities than those in adult courts. In some instances, there are more relaxed rules of evidence, which is always heard with the intent of judging the “delinquency” of the juvenile, something that never happens in adult courts. During delinquency proceedings, there are constitutional procedures and guarantees safeguards instituted as guidelines to juvenile justice process.
These are essentially similar to those of adult defendants except that all juvenile matters in juvenile Courts are tried without a jury before the Court. Among other requirements, there will always be equal treatment regardless of race, creed, nationality, sex, color, religion, political opinions or physical handicap (Lander, 1954, p. 65). The following is a list (though not conclusive depending on the many variations in different states) of the juvenile rights in juvenile delinquency proceeding:
· The delinquent has the right to fair and respective treatment at all times.
· The right to be informed of the nature of the alleged crime.
· Right to counsel representation.
· Right to speedy trial without any unnecessary delays.
· Right to confront and cross-examine witnesses who are aligned against the juvenile.
· Right to obtain tangible evidence and witnesses through compulsory processes.
· Right to introduce personal evidence.
· Right to deny any self evidence against oneself.
· Right to make the state, through the court, prove beyond any reasonable doubts that the juvenile actually committed the act which is charged against him/her.
· The right to information relating to detention rules is mandatory during the time of admission.
· There is provisional right of worship of the juvenile’s religion that is of his /her own choice.
· There is the right to refuse any physical punishment, annoyance, threat, assault, to be made fun of or to be hurt. On the same note, one is not to be bothered in any way during normal body activities times such as sleeping, eating, or while in the bathroom, by any other staff or resident.
· The juvenile also have the right to access clean clothes while in detention. These include clean detention shoes that must be provided at the time of admission into the detention facility.
· One has the right to write letters, see, and talk to his /her own layers or attorneys.
· There is the right to good food, clean bed and sheets, daily shower, properly working toilets, good air and light and general safety.
· One also has the right to receive visitors and letters that are not read by the staff.
· There is the right to request for medical attention after a request for medical attention form has been procedurally completed.
· The juvenile has the right to be assured that all his/her properties are logged and stored in a place where they must remain safe.
· He/she has the right to communicate with other persons within an institution so long as such communication is not disruptive to security or order of detention.
· There is the right to access both outdoor and indoor recreation.
· The right to report all forms of complaints or problems during the stay in detention. This should be done without any fear whatsoever.
· The right to refuse any work that would usually be paid for except for maintenance and cleaning of detention.
· The right, in the event of abuse, to call Client Advocates Office.
· The right, unless it is a health hazard, to style and wear any hairstyle of choice including facial hair.