Zanetta Eave, Tasha Harris, and Lee Blackmon
July 29, 2013
Introduction The “Juvenile and Adult Courts: A Comparative Analysis” paper will compare juvenile courts with adult courts. This paper will present an overview of the juvenile justice system, a point-by-point comparison between juvenile and adult courts. The adjudication process by which a juvenile is transferred to the adult court system. This paper will also discuss the implications of the following for youthful offenders: The trend of increasing the use of waivers, and the trend of remanding juveniles to adult court for processing. The last topic addressed in this paper will be the societal implications of abolishing juvenile court.
Overview of the Juvenile Justice System For over a century, states have believed that the juvenile justice system was a vehicle to protect the public by providing a system that responds to children who are maturing into adulthood. States recognize that children who commit crimes are different from adults: as a class, they are less blameworthy, and they have a greater capacity for change. To respond to these differences, states have established a separate court system for juveniles, and they have created a separate, youth-based service delivery system that is different than that provided to adults. The juvenile justice system has grown and changed substantially since 1899, when the nation’s first juvenile court was established in Illinois (James Halpin, 2010, pg30). Originally, the court process was informal—often nothing more than a conversation between the youth and the judge—and the defendant lacked legal representation. To replace confinement in jails with adults, the early juvenile courts created a probation system and used a separate service-delivery system to provide minors with supervision, guidance, and education. Soon every state and the District of Columbia had followed Illinois’s lead