How Are Juveniles Treated Differently From Adults in the Criminal Justice System?

The juvenile justice system has come under a fair amount of scrutiny and no small amount of criticism over the years. Why is that? Some of the reasons stem from the perceived inability of the juvenile justice system to fulfill its intended goal of rehabilitation, along with various yet common abuses of discretion, and the conflicting goals of juvenile justice, resulting in a process that is virtually indistinguishable from the criminal justice system’s goals of punishment, deterrence, and incarceration.

If you have a minor child caught in the juvenile justice system, let a Bradenton juvenile attorney at Fowler & Fowler, P.A. help. We have the experience and specific knowledge to deal with any type of juvenile law issue.

Who Is a “Juvenile” in Florida?

Under Florida law, a “child” or “juvenile” or “youth” means “any person under the age of 18 or any person who is alleged to have committed a violation of law occurring prior to the time that person reached the age of 18 years.”

How Do the Juvenile and Adult Systems Differ?

Generally, there are several apparent differences between a juvenile system and an adult criminal system, including:

  • Under juvenile law, the primary goals are rehabilitation and treatment, and community protection is considered to be a secondary goal. Under adult law, rehabilitation is not considered a primary goal, which assumes that criminal sanctions and deterrence are seen as successful outcomes of punishment.
  • Juvenile records have limited access because it is believed that juvenile offenders can be successfully rehabilitated, and unnecessary stigmatization should be avoided. Court proceedings may be confidential to protect privacy. Under adult law, open public access to criminal records is required, and all court proceedings are open to the public.
  • The juvenile system follows a psychological casework approach, examining a detailed assessment of the youth’s history for clues as to how to proceed. Adults in the criminal justice system are put on trial, which is based mainly on legal facts.
  • In the juvenile system, law enforcement has the option of preventative detention, detaining youths for his or her own protection. Adults in the criminal justice system simply have the right to apply for bail.
  • Not all states allow juveniles the right to a jury trial. Adults in the criminal justice system have a constitutional right to a jury trial.
  • Parole for juveniles combines surveillance and activities to reintegrate the juvenile into the community. Parole for adults in the criminal justice system is primarily based on surveillance and monitoring of illicit behavior.

If You’ve Lost a Juvenile to the System, Contact a Bradenton Juvenile Attorney for Help

There may be advantages in the juvenile justice system that you can take advantage of if you contact a Bradenton juvenile attorney. We’ll help you understand these advantages and help divert your child into treatment or other options if possible. Contact us for your free consultation.

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