October 28, 2013
Juvenile and Adult Courts: A Comparative Analysis
For many years, people have believed that the juvenile justice system was meant to serve as a way to protect the community. Juveniles who commit crimes are different from adults because many do not understand the complexity of the crime committed. In order to respond to these differences, many states have established a way to treat these adolescents through juvenile courts and youth-based recovery systems. While most states recognize that juveniles who commit crimes should not be treated as an adult there are still some that are skeptic that the juvenile justice system works.
The juvenile justice system began in 1899, in Chicago, Illinois where the nation’s first juvenile system was established. In the beginning the system was informal and often times it was nothing more than a conversation between the juvenile and a judge (Juvenile Law Center, 2013). Over the years the system has changed significantly where juvenile courts have created a probation system which provided a different method to provide juveniles with guidance, supervision, and education. By the 1920s all but two states had followed the suit but it was not until the 1960s where the juvenile justice system was given several of the same legal rights as the adult court.
There are many differences between the juvenile and adult criminal systems but they also share their similarities. While their differences vary depending on the state, the similarities can be said to be our natural born rights. One of the main similarities is the right to an attorney (LaMance, 2013). The defendant has the choice of either choosing a public defender to represent them or to hire a paid attorney. Both courts not only give their defendants the right to cross-examine witnesses but also the privilege against self-incrimination. The prosecution must also provide proof beyond a reasonable