Civil Injuction Process

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Before the modern era, youth who committed crimes in the Western world received no preferential treatment because of their age. These children were adjudicated, punished, and confined alongside adult offenders. In more recent years the juvenile justice system has maintained different priorities than those that exist in the adult criminal justice system. However, there are still many get tough advocates of law and order, many of whom are fed up with violent juvenile crime, that are increasingly questioning the philosophy that underlies the juvenile justice system in America. Many people call for harsher punishments while others call for better rehabilitation programs for youth offenders. This paper will focus on the differences between the adult and juvenile justice systems, and whether rehabilitation or incarceration is the best method to assist in reducing the juvenile crime rate and help today’s youth become contributing members of society.

Rehabilitation is known as the attempt to reform a criminal offender by the restoration of his or her former condition of usefulness to society. Generally speaking, rehabilitation is the primary objective of the juvenile court system, however, there are those that are sentenced to incarceration as punishment for his or her criminal act. Punishment as opposed to rehabilitation seeks to instill fear in to an individual so that, he or she is deterred from committing future criminal acts. The juvenile justice system maintains different priorities than exist in the adult criminal justice system. For example, a juvenile is not found guilty of a crime but rather is adjudicated an offender. Although punishment is an element of the juvenile justice system, the primary focus is on rehabilitation. The question is, which is a more efficient means of helping juvenile offenders? To answer this question, it is important to understand the differences between the adult and juvenile justice court systems. The criminal justice court systems for adults and juveniles differ in many significant ways. The majority of states today define a child subject to juvenile court jurisdiction as a person who has not yet turned 18, but a few states have set the age at 16 or 17 years old. The adult criminal justice court system and the juvenile justice court system may appear to be quite similar, but there are many differences between the two. One of the main differences between the juvenile justice court system and the adult criminal justice court system is that the juvenile justice system is focused more on rehabilitation than punishment. However, punishment or incarceration is still a concept with the juvenile just system, but is primarily used as a last resort for juveniles. This is known as the least restrictive alternative. This means that the juvenile offender is to be committed to a sentence that provides the least restriction on his or her person and his or her access to family. Punishment as opposed to rehabilitation seeks to instill fear in an individual so that, he or she is deterred from committing future criminal acts. Rehabilitation is known as the attempt to reform a criminal offender by the restoration of his or her former condition of usefulness to society. A second difference between the two systems is the fact that juveniles do not attend a trial, but rather what is known as an adjudicatory hearing. An adjudicatory hearing is the “fact-finding process by which the juvenile court determines whether there is sufficient evidence to sustain the allegations in a petition” (Schmalleger, 2009). These adjudicatory hearings for juveniles are similar to adult trials, but have a few exceptions. A very important difference between an adult trial and a juvenile adjudicatory hearing is that the adjudicatory hearing is not as “open” as the adult system and maintains an emphasis on privacy. Juvenile hearings may be held in secret, the names of offenders not published, and records of...
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