Dealing with or Preventing Juvenile Delinquency

Dealing with or Preventing Juvenile Delinquency

Dealing with Juvenile Delinquency
The procedures followed in the juvenile justice system differ greatly from those followed for adult offenders. Each state has specific programs or systems that deal with juvenile offenders. Juvenile offenders come into police contact in number of ways. Some are caught committing a crime and arrested, others are referred to police by parents or school officials. Once the police have become involved, they may choose to deal with a juvenile offender in several ways. The police can:
·        issue a warning and release of the minor
·        detain the minor and notify the parents to pick him up
·        refer the case to juvenile court
·        arrest the minor and refer the case to juvenile court
If the case goes to court, the minor and the parents meet with a juvenile court intake officer. The intake officer can handle the case informally, referring the juvenile to a probation officer, he can dismiss the case, or he can file formal charges. When deciding whether to file charges, officers often consider:
·        the offense
·        the offender’s age
·        the offender’s previous record
·        the offender’s educational or social history

·        the ability of the parents to control the offender’s behavior or seek help



If dealt with informally, the minor reports to a probation officer, and is given advice and ordered to perform community service, pay fines, attend treatment, or enter probation.
If charges are filed in juvenile court, the minor is arraigned, at which time his charges are read before a judge. The judge then decides whether to detain or release the juvenile until the hearing takes place. After appearing in court, three things are possible:
a)     Plea Agreement – the minor may enter a plea agreement with the court. This often requires the juvenile to comply with certain conditions, such as attending counseling, obeying a curfew, or paying restitution.
b)     Diversion – the judge may divert the case, which means he retains control over the matter until the juvenile successfully completes treatment programs or performs community services. If the juvenile fails to comply, formal charges may be reinstated.
c)      Adjudicatory Hearing – the judge may decide to have an adjudicatory hearing, which is a trial in a juvenile case. While both sides argue the case and present evidence, a juvenile trial takes place in front of a judge, not a jury. If, at the end of the hearing, the judge decides the juvenile is delinquent, he may order punishments such as probation, community service, or even detention in a juvenile center.





Preventing Juvenile Delinquency
Prevention of juvenile delinquency serves at-risk youths, their families, and the public, as it can put a stop to the transition of juvenile offenders to adult offenders. Prevention services are offered by a number of government and private agencies, and include such services as:
§  Substance Abuse Treatment
§  Family Counseling
§  Individual Counseling
§  Parenting Education
§  Family Planning Services
The availability of education, and encouragement of minors in obtaining an education, plays a large role in prevention of juvenile delinquency. This is because education promotes social cohesion, and helps children of all ages learn to make good choices, and to practice self-control.

1 Comments

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