Juvenile Court Procedures in the United States

A juvenile is defined as a person whose age bracket is below the age of majority. However, in the United States, the term juvenile varies in age, where some states take it to be, fifteen, sixteen, or even seventeen years. Juvenile who shows delinquency are tried and tested at the juvenile courts in US. A plain of fair trial of justice is therefore placed upon each deviant, where penalties vary with the age and the delinquency commission by the suspect. Above their trials in the juvenile courts, offenders are usually given other protections which are special to their offence and age.

As a rule, the suspect’s parents or even a guardian is supposed to be available at the questioning to the offender by the police and even the names of the juveniles to be confidential in the accusation of a crime suspect. Miller and Larry (2007) states that,” For crimes (especially more violent crimes), the age at which a minor may be tried as an adult is variable below the age if 18 or (less often) below 16. ”  (p. 495). In the US, juvenile crimes vary differently according to the nature and the content of the crime. Such crimes are political, state corporate and public order crimes.

Others are such as organized crime and white collar crime. The penalties to these crimes also vary differently according to the nature of the crime; such penalties are deterrence, retribution, subject to a prison, using rehabilitation, and recidivism. The US, uses various version of legal justice penalties to subject victims of Juvenile delinquency where juvenile delinquency are violent crime or even sometimes non-violent acts which are normally committed by persons under eighteen years and who are considered as been minors.

However, many activists find themselves indifferent of whether such victims should be held responsible of criminal offenses of their actions or not. This is because,  there are many factors that may affect a child’s behaviour, which implies that, some of the offenders should not be held as criminals. In the US, justice requirements for juvenile delinquents vary from one state to another. However, in 1974, the government of United States established a legislation whose intention was to form a Unified way of handling the crimes of juvenile delinquents (The Juvenile Justice and Development Act).

Its act was to provide grants for the programs aimed at reducing juvenile delinquency. It was also aimed at researching and developing statistics about reducing juvenile crimes. In addition, the act addressed on, over representation, removal of jail and lock up of the juveniles, segregation and the deinstitutionalization of the youths. By segregation, the act argued about a total segregation of the youths and the adult people who were held in police custodies. In removal from jails and lock up, it ordered that, those youths who were to be subjected to the juvenile courts were not to be jailed where fellow adult offenders were in custody.

Either, the act acted in reducing the number of youths in relation to total numbers of the youths in the entire states proportion. Through, deinstitutionalization, the act argued that those youths who were caught in offenses that would not equal to crimes by the adults should not be confined by the police at any time. The above orders of the 1974 act worked towards ensuring that justice was perpetuated in ensuring that the best and least criminal adult was subjected to the juveniles.

The juvenile courts are established to give an authority of trial and passing of judgment to the criminal offences by persons who are below the age of majority. This is ideally to ensure that there is a difference in the treatment of crimes by the young people and those of the adult. The Juvenile court is basically to try to make changes to the life of the young people rather than using criminal punishment which would have less benefited the young person. In the United States, those who have committed crimes at the ages below majority age, are taken as been defendant youths.

However, the age of been a juvenile varies differently in the different states of the United States. The juvenile courts in the United States allow the juveniles the rights of due process and the right for every offender against any horror of self-incrimination. There are different aspects that the police use to decide whether juveniles who have committed crimes are to be subjected to a juvenile court or not. This is because it’s just on a number of factors that a young person who commits a certain crime may be held guilty in the court.

Firstly, the police have to free the juvenile upon detaining and warning him/her against any similar and further cases of such a violation. Either, the police have to free the minor only under the presence of his/her parent after detainment and warning has been done to the juvenile against any future violations of such a crime. Lastly, the police can take the juvenile’s case to the court after holding him up in custody. However, the juvenile court in the US has changed over a few years of what originally was a rehabilitative agency for young people for their social welfare to more of a criminal court for these people.

Currently the public is intensely fighting for the former intent of the juvenile courts in order to propagate social development rather than criminal accusations of the juvenile. Feld, 1999 states that, ”within the past three decades, judicial decisions, legislative amendments, and administrative changes have transformed the juvenile court from a nominally rehabilitative, social welfare agency into a scaled-down second – class criminal court for young, people: (P. 3). Therefore, the juvenile courts have continued to impose accusations to the juveniles like the way the adult has been accused in their criminal courts.