Essay Sample on History and Evolution of the Juvenile Justice System

Published: 2018-04-06
Essay Sample on History and Evolution of the Juvenile Justice System
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Judicial system Criminal justice Juvenile justice
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1670 words
14 min read

Essay Sample #1 - Juvenile justice system essay

Various theories and models guide the criminal justice system. The system harbor both the rights of the accused as well as those of victims. Moreover, the criminal system contains rights and strategies aimed at prevention and restorative justice. The juvenile and the adult justice system have similarities as well as differences based on the various models and theories present within the system (Goldstein, 2007). The two system differ in their attention on crime prevention and restorative justice. The juvenile system stresses on rehabilitation rather than punishing teenage delinquents. Nonetheless, punishment is still a reasonable concept that is used in the judiciary, but it is only applied as a ‘last resort’ in juvenile cases. During occasions of punishment in the system of minors, a teenage delinquent who is guilty of a crime may be put on trial as an adult. The adult justice system does not stress on rehabilitation but rather focuses more on punishment contrary to the juvenile system (Roach, 2009). Furthermore, in the system of minors, the proceedings, records, children's court hearings, and other activities are confidential and not characteristically accessible. The adult cases, trials, and hearings are public and readily available. Therefore, the juveniles are protected by the system in that it is not possible for the public to understand or know the crimes committed by juveniles. In both systems, adults and minors who admit guilt undergo a system of procedural safeguards to protect their rights. Moreover, although the right to counsel applies in both systems, a court-appointed advocate in juvenile system looks out for the teenager’s ‘greatest interest,’ especially rehabilitation, an advocate in adult system ‘best interest’ lies in forgoing or reducing the sentence (Goldstein, 2007). Although a due process applies in both systems, juvenile offenders appear to be helped or facilitated more than the adult delinquents.

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Juvenile justice system pros and cons

The differences in the rights in the juvenile and adult justice system emanate from their structure. The criminal justice system is a collection of legal and social bodies for imposing the criminal law by a defined set of technical rules and limitations. The major subsections of the system include law enforcements, defense attorneys, courts, prosecution, courts, and corrections. Each sub-section plays a critical role in the criminal justice system. Rights within the subsections of the system are distinct. The law enforcement involves the police and the strategies they use to gather evidence to convict a suspect. In the law enforcement section, the police are given extensive investigative powers to arrest individuals for questioning, an activity that is mainly used to determine whether a person is factually guilty. The attorney’s defense, on the other hand, can defend the suspect to ensure the reliability of the defendant’s statements and evidence provided (Roach, 2009). Therefore, this difference in rights within the criminal justice system poses various impacts.

Mainly, it becomes hard to accurately determine whether a person is guilty or not, which lead to a conviction of the wrong person. For instance, within the criminal justice system, a detainee awaiting the court proceedings is not allowed or given the opportunity to contact their lawyer because this would slow down the investigation process and only benefit the suspect because the agent mainly instructs them not to say anything (Goldstein, 2007). A lawyer’s place is only in the court where he or she can defend the suspect. Therefore, the difference in rights on the structure of the justice system may lead to wrong convictions because the police may use any means to obtain evidence, which the lawyer can help in preventing.

Difference between the juvenile justice system and criminal justice system

Moreover, the difference in rights within the criminal justice system may make conviction of factually guilty individuals hard. It is the work of the court to determine whether the evidence provided is efficient to term a person as guilty or not. In many cases illegally obtained evidence is not admissible in the court (Goldstein, 2007). Except for evidence obtained through coercing, the police should have more powers to conduct searches and evidence gathered be used in a court regardless of how it was obtained. Additionally, guilty pleas are not mainly accepted as enough evidence to sentence a suspect. Even after a defendant pleads guilty, the court requires that further proof be searched to determine the accuracy of the plea. The resources and time end up being wasted because of the requirement of the court for further investigation even when a suspect pleads guilty.

The public policy behind the difference in the evolution and application of rights in the criminal justice system processes is the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial. Every person is presumed innocent until proved guilty after a fair trial (Goldstein, 2007). Therefore, in a way, the justice system bars some of its subsections the power to pursue their objectives efficiently. The police department is limited in its ways of obtaining the evidence required to make convictions. Moreover, a person cannot be compelled to testify or confess guilt against him/herself. It is the work of the justice system to follow the set strategies to obtain evidence and not for the defendant to plead guilty. Hence, the fair trial policy causes differences in rights within the structure of the justice system because some subsections are limited in their work more than others.


Goldstein, D. (2007, June 14). The Juvenile Justice System. Retrieved from Boston University Vista Website:

Roach, K. (2009). Four Models of the Criminal Process. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 671-81.

Essay Sample #2 - Adult Court System Vs. Juvenile Court System

In any jurisdiction, there are laws or rules put in place to govern all the activities of the region. Going against the rules means a court process exposure, which will determine what will happen at the end of the day. These courts exist in two forms, juvenile court for children under 18 years, and the adult court. They operate differently in a manner that children's court often provides for rehabilitation and education to the accused (the child) whereas the adult court resolves on punishments like jail terms, fines and other related sentences (Taylor, 2014). Suppose there is an incident of armed robbery and the suspects come from both the two denominations, various processes are likely to be applied which finally, will depict a great difference in the final court decisions.

The adult court system

Due to armed robbery and an adult reaches before the tribunal; he/she will pass through the following court processes until the judgment is passed. The arrest is the first process where a law application officer halts a person, and it is believed that the officer either was involved in the occurrence or was called after.

After that, there is an initial appearance where the robber appears before the judge, the mistake read, and various factors put into consideration. After that, there is a preliminary hearing. The judge hears testimonies from the witnesses and the accused is given a chance to defend himself/herself. Arraignment is the next stage where the person is scheduled for a trial. The prosecutor allows for hearings again from both the accused and accuser and the judge gives the general conviction where an appeal is authorized in case the conviction is not a death sentence. In this case, there is a possibility of even issuing a death sentence by the judge since it is a robbery case with evident arm weapons. If not so, there must be a huge penalty or failure to, imprisonment of very many years.

The juvenile court system

In the children's court, the process seems different because the accused is an under 18 years. The process starts with the arrest. This is where the law enforcers decide where the victim will be punished or taken to other court procedures. After the youth is taken to court, he/she undergoes an informal hearing and character. The child is expected to join a rehabilitation center to help him/her change her behavior gradually after some time and have the positive view of life. But if the victim is not suitable for this, he/she is taken to the next stage, the formal hearing. Usually, juvenile cases are heard and solved in juvenile courts but such heavy cases like the armed robbery, the prosecutor may decide to take it to a criminal court. A delinquency petition is then formed to inform the judge of the claims against the teenager, and he is asked to hear and decide the case (Fradella, 2015). All the testimonies and witnesses including the officer who arrested the youth are expected to say something at this stage. This is done in a criminal court after the intake officer, or the prosecutor has sent a waiver petition. This will finally lead to other stages of prosecution and verdict given by the judge. In the case of an imprisonment statement, the juvenile is taken to a youths' prison different from the standard adult one.

From the perspective of the defendant response guidelines, the adult court process and punishment is the most appropriate. It is evident that the victim participated in a robbery while armed. According to (Hahn, 2010 et al.), the juvenile court process tends to cover much the victim in the name of the victim being young, yet at that age, the victim can cause a destruction as that resulting from the adult. It is necessary, therefore that a stern, similar and appropriate action be taken to criminals regardless of the age to make them learn and be a lesson to the remaining who may attempt to join the victim's school of thought.


Concisely, the court process is not equal due to consideration of various factors majorly age. This is an advantage to youth offenders since the law tends to be slightly soft on them giving them different options to enable them to retract and rejoin the healthy direction. This sounds contrary to that of the adults.

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