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Overview of Juvenile Justice

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  1. Overview of Juvenile Justice CRIM 309

  2. Overview of the Juvenile Justice System • The JJS is a relatively new system—the first juvenile court was established in 1899 • The JJS was created to address criminal and problem behaviors among children between the ages of (approx.) 10 to 18 • Criminal offenses (aka delinquency) • Status offenses • Abuse/neglect cases

  3. Basis of the JJS • Different levels of culpability (I.e., responsibility) of adolescents compared to adults served as the basis of the JJS • “Childhood” was created in the early 19th century and stages of childhood, specifically adolescence was defined shortly afterward • Developmentally distinguished adolescents from adults emotionally, psychologically, and physically • Supported the notion that (1) adolescents were less culpable than adults, and (2) adolescents were more amenable to change than adults

  4. Are Adolescents Different from Adults? • Increasingly, research demonstrates that adolescents are not little adults • Adolescence is a period of intense physical, emotional, and cognitive development • Forced to make choices under the worst conditions • Exposed to highly risky situations • Often overestimate their understanding of a situation while underestimating the consequences of their actions • Further complicated when youths live in disadvantaged, high risk environments • Perhaps most important for this discussion is the fact that adolescents process ‘emotionally charged’ information from a more reactive, gut-level place than adults

  5. JJS v. CJS • The JJS was purposely developed as a different system from the adult criminal justice system (CJS) • The JJS recognized the need for different responses and emphasized rehabilitation over punishment • JJS differs significantly from the the CJS: • Informal proceedings • Confidential • Less adversarial • Different responses, with an emphasis on treatment

  6. Juvenile v. Adult Justice Systems

  7. History of the Juvenile Court

  8. Prior to Juvenile Court • Prior to 19th century, children were either viewed as: • Not culpable for crime (ages <7) • As responsible and subject to the same penalties as adults • 19th century—Introduction of “childhood” and recognition of developmental differences between children and adults • Efforts were made by reformers to remove juveniles from criminal court and treat them differently from adults using legal precedent of parens patriae

  9. Reformers and the Juvenile Court • 19th Century time of drastic change as a result of industrialization and high rates of immigration • Wealthy and middle class develops and turns its attention to social ills of the nation • Child-Savers—MC/W women who took on a variety of social issues • Progressive Reformers—growing intelligentsia that wanted to reduce social problems with the creation of professional organizations

  10. Reforming the System • Reformers focused on evils of urbanization and poor upbringing—family was at the center of their criticism and a target for their efforts • Benevolent Reform turns into bias • Class, Race, & Gender Bias • Utilize the legal precedent of parens patriae to justify work in many areas related to children • Parens Patriae=provides state the right to intervene in the best interest of a person • This precedent is critical to all reforms, including juvenile justice, compulsory education, and child labor

  11. Origins of Juvenile Court • House of Refuge 1825 • Concerns regarding this development led to court cases • Ex Parte Crouse, 1835—upheld parens patriae • People v. Turner, 1860—struck parens patriae down • Response: Cottage House Systems and reformatories-mid 1800s • “Placing Out”—sending juveniles west • Each of these institutions were an attempt to: • Separate juveniles from adults • Provide “treatment” to prevent youths from adopting a life of crime

  12. Purpose of the New Response • Differential treatment of juveniles (from adults) was intended to save juveniles from themselves—salvage their souls • Treatment” in these institutions translated to vocational skills training and religious training • Based on stereotypes and role expectations of the time • Juveniles in these institutions were largely poor, immigrant, and female • Black youths were often processed by and placed in adult system. When allowed into the juvenile system, these youths were segregated from Whites and given custodial types of tasks

  13. Creation of the Juvenile Court • Concern over legal challenges led reformers to seek permanent placement of juvenile court in law,culminating in the creation of the first juvenile court---1899 in Cook County, Illinois • Created legal categories and jurisdiction for juvenile delinquency, status offending, and abuse/neglect • System was separate from adult court in theory and practice • By 1925, all states except Maine and Wyoming had functioning juvenile courts

  14. Evolution of Juvenile Justice • 1905 Commonwealth v. Fisher: • Brought legal question once again to parens patriae • Court upheld legal doctrine and creation of separate legal jurisdiction for juvenile delinquents, status offenders, and abused/neglected youth • Legitimacy not questioned again until the 1960s

  15. Juvenile Justice in 20th Century • 60s: Legal/court reform • Kent v. United States, 1966 • Hearings required for transfer to adult court • In Re Gault, 1967 • Representation for all offenders who face institutionalization • In Re Winship, 1970 • Standard of proof, “beyond a reasonable doubt,” required • Breed v. Jones, 1975 • Protection against double jeopardy • McKeiver v. Pennsylvania, 1971 • Rejected access to jury trial

  16. 20th Century Continued • 70s: Federal reform • Focus on prevention and concern over status offenders • Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act • Federal Act that • Prohibited placement of status offenders in secure facilities • Required sight and separation of juveniles and adults in detention and correctional facilities • Removal of juveniles from adult jails and lockups • Voluntary compliance but connected to funding • Reauthorization by Congress in 1988 required states to examine over representation of minorities in secure confinment

  17. 20th Century Continued • 80s: Crime Control Policies • Increase in facility use • Increase waivers • Increase in statutory limitations • Death penalty • New ways of sentencing • 90s: Distinguishing Offenders • 2000: Punitive mixed with integrating sanctions and rehabilitation & restorative justice

  18. Juvenile Justice In Context • Creates a contradiction between our social policies related to children and adolescents and our treatment of children and adolescents who break the law: • Assumption that the nature of adolescence is to face ambiguous decisions and learn appropriate behaviors/choice-making • Social policies reflect the lack of maturity and skills to make certain decisions • Criminal justice policies reject many of these notions and put juvenile offenders on same level as adult offenders • Complicated further by the fact that adolescence is the highest period of criminal activity

  19. Structure of the Juvenile Justice System

  20. Contemporary Juvenile Court Structure • Juvenile justice is state-based; there is no federal juvenile justice system • The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention provides guidance on policy and resources for program development, but it has no authority over juvenile justice systems operating in any state • Juvenile courts may be located organizationally as general jurisdiction courts, special jurisdiction courts, or limited jurisdiction courts • Extent to which juvenile courts have jurisdiction in all matters involving juveniles varies by state

  21. The Juvenile Justice System

  22. 1st Step in the JJ Process: Arrest/Referral • Juveniles can enter the jjs through: • Parent referrals • School referrals • Social service referrals • Police referrals • Police are responsible for the majority of referrals to the juvenile justice system

  23. Policing and Juveniles • Juveniles are responsible for a lot of police contacts • Nature of Police-Juvenile Encounters • Often difficult • Developmental differences and lack of training • Hostile behavior • Officer response can significantly impact result • Role conflict—what is their role

  24. Police Organization of Juvenile Work • Depends on the size of the police department, the community, amount & quality of resources available, and policing philosophy of department • Special units-officers specially trained • Special units are more likely to exist in large, urban areas. Smaller areas are less likely to have specialized juvenile officers

  25. Police and the Law • Police have more latitude in handling juveniles: • Charging decisions • Ability to detain • If juvenile is charged as an adult, he/she is entitled to full due process • If juvenile is taken into custody as a juvenile, police act “in the role of parents” and have more control over what happens to the youth

  26. Police Discretion • Discretion=Use of personal decision-making and choice in carrying out operations in the justice system (I.e., deciding whether to arrest) • Discretion applies to all processing stages of the juvenile and adult justice systems • Particularly large amount of discretion used in the case of juveniles • Informality and “individualized” treatment lends itself to discretion

  27. Impact of Discretion • Discretion can keep offenders out of the system--have significant impact of who enters the system and who does not • Discretion can increase chance of being placed in the system • Discretion can deteriorate into discrimination and other abuses • Personal, environmental, departmental, and situational factors impact the extent to which discretion plays a role in processing juveniles into the juvenile justice system

  28. 2nd Stage of the JJ Process: Detention • Police decide whether to detain an offender or release him/her to parents • Intake officer determines whether the placement is necessary (using a risk tool) • Offenders can be detained for their own safety or the safety of the community—no bond. Must be released by prosecutor or order of the judge • Many negative consequences to detention—efforts growing to build alternatives • Types: Shelter, Staff-Secure, & Secure • Detention can be used at any time in the process

  29. 3rd Stage of the JJ Process: Charging • In some states, Prosecutor decides how to charge the case—decision is based on state statute around juvenile court jurisdiction and waivers to adult court • Also has the option to not charge or offer diversion to an offender • The diversion option allows the offender to avoid processing if they complete the diversion program successfully • In other states, Juvenile Court Intake makes the decision to informally handle or formally handle • Decision is then sent to the Prosecutor • Diversion is also possible at this point

  30. Transferring Cases to the Adult Court • Case may be waived to adult court by a judge prior to adjudication • Judicial waiver • Hearing to determine whether case warrants transfer to the adult court • In some states, case may also be charged directly in adult court by a prosecutor • Prosecutorial waiver • No hearing; defense can file a reverse waiver to transfer the case to juvenile court • In most states, legislatures have mandated that certain cases be automatically processed in adult court—statutory exclusion

  31. 4th Stage of JJ Process: Adjudication • Formal Processing • Arraignment Hearing • Charges read in court • Need for Representation Assessed • If represented, type of responsibility is entered • If responsiblecase goes to disposition • If not responsiblecase goes to adjudication hearing (I.e., trial) • If responsiblecase goes to disposition • If not responsiblecase is dismissed • Plea bargaining occurs during these stages

  32. 5th Stage of JJ Process: Assessment • Pre-disposition assessments • Thorough evaluations of juvenile’s risk and need levels • Judge orders at adjudication hearing • Report completed and returned to judge prior to the disposition • Report contains recommendations to the judge on what type of disposition the offender should receive

  33. Content of Pre-Disposition Assessment • This stage may include any or all of the following: • Individual factors: previous jj experience, peers, living situation, etc. • Family factors: occupations, living situation, history of abuse/neglect, relationships, etc. • School factors: attendance, performance, behavior • Also provides the opportunity for: 1. Substance abuse screening 2. Mental health screening 3. Risk Assessment 4. Referral for further assessment (SA, MH, medical, family, etc.)

  34. 6th Stage in JJ Process: Disposition • Disposition Hearing (Sentence) • Judge reviews pre-disposition materials (if available) and decides on the following options: • Probation: Supervision in the community • Different levels • May include placement in camp or detention facility • State Custody: Out-of-Home Placement • Different types of placements • Parole and Aftercare • Blended Sentencing: Combination of juvenile and adult sentencing

  35. Probation • Traditional Supervision (Low, Medium, and High) • Intensive Supervision (High Only) • Drug Courts • Camps • Probation has conditions that can include curfews, treatment, family counseling, etc.

  36. State Custody • Foster/Group Homes • Correctional Facility • Treatment Facility Placements • Parole • Aftercare Programming

  37. Caveats to JJ Process • Offender placed on probation who violates the conditions of that order, can return to court and be moved into state custody • Offender place in state custody who makes parole and violates the conditions of parole, can return to court and to an institution