Juvenile Justice System: How it Differs from the Adult Criminal Justice System

child in cuffs

The criminal justice system in the United States is divided into two main categories: the juvenile justice system and the adult criminal justice system. The two systems are vastly different in terms of their process and consequences.

1. Age of Responsibility

In the United States, a child is considered a juvenile if they are under the age of 18. This age limit is important because it determines the point at which a person is responsible for their actions as an adult. In the adult criminal justice system, individuals are responsible for their actions from the age of 18. However, in the juvenile justice system, the age of responsibility is much lower. The Juvenile Courts of today have jurisdiction over the minors’ delinquent behavior, such as truancy, drug or alcohol abuse, crimes they commit, etc. This means that young people can be held accountable for their misconduct as young as ten.

2. Purpose of the System

The primary goal of the adult criminal justice system is to punish an offender for their crimes. The focus here is to penalize the offender in a way that serves as a deterrent to others who may be tempted to commit similar crimes. On the other hand, the juvenile justice system is geared towards rehabilitating young offenders and helping them change their behavior. Juvenile courts are more concerned with guiding youths toward the right path than punishing them.

3. Process of Arrest and Detention

When a young person is arrested, they are usually taken to a juvenile detention center rather than a regular jail. The detention center differs from the jail because it is specifically designed for minors. These centers provide counseling, education, and other support services to help the youth rehabilitate. Additionally, the juvenile system values the young offenders' privacy and confidentiality, and any information about their charges is protected.

4. Sentencing and Punishment

The punishment for their actions in the American adult justice system is harsher and more severe than that of the juvenile justice system. When a young person is found guilty of a crime, they will still be held accountable, but their sentences are usually less harsh. Upon conviction, the punishments ranged from community service to probation to corrective treatment, among other forms of rehabilitating young offenders. Young offenders can also be ordered to attend therapy sessions to help them reform themselves, in contrast to those in the adult system, where rehabilitation is less focused.

Birmingham Juvenile Crime Attorneys

At Revill Law Firm, we recognize the unique challenges faced by young individuals involved in criminal activities and their families. Our experienced team is dedicated to providing comprehensive legal representation and guidance throughout the legal process, ensuring our client's rights and best interests are protected. Contact Revill Law Firm if you require assistance or have further questions about juvenile or adult criminal cases.

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