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A Comparative Analysis between Juvenile and Adult Courts

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Juvenile and adult courts differ considerably. The practices in these two establishments are directed at correcting human behavior. However, due to the differences in age people are subjected to various procedures. The severity of judgments in juvenile and adult courts varies as well. Everything starting with the first meeting with police and finishing with imprisonment have slight differences, sometimes these differences are greater, even though the final aim of correctional establishments is to maintain law and order in society. A comparative analysis aims to analyze general characteristics of juvenile and adult courts, pre-trial issues, measures and opportunities, and other aspects, which may seem important. One of the difficulties in conducting of such an analysis is the differences in legislation depending on states. The paper focuses on the most common similarities and differences without considering specifics of any of the state laws.

Similarities of Juvenile and Adult Court Procedures

First, an accused person has a right to have an attorney in both juvenile and adult courts. One can confront and cross-examine witnesses. An accused person in both juvenile and adult courts has a privilege against self-incrimination. Moreover, one has the right to notice of the charges. Finally, the prosecution should have an opportunity to provide proof for doubting right before an accused person is convicted.

Differences of Juvenile and Adult Court Procedures

The first difference of juvenile and adult court procedures is police action. In case an adult commits a crime he/she is immediately arrested. However, if a juvenile commits a crime for the first time, he/she can be released with parents’ notification. Furthermore, if a crime is rather severe, but judges are sure that imprisonment is not necessary, a person may be referred to a community-based organization for providing services. Finally, a juvenile may be arrested and taken to detention.

The second difference is the supervision under a person if released is out on bond. Adult court system does not presuppose too strict watch over a person, but in case a juvenile is released on the same conditions, he/she is to be supervised more attentively.

Third, juveniles are sure to be subjected to mental health and substance abuse evaluation while adults are not obligated to do it unless some visible signs point to the necessity to do it.

Fourth, in juvenile court a case is to be considered within four months while adult cases may take months to be resolved. Additionally, judging adult cases courts focus attention on victim safety and community interests, the interests of criminals are not taken into account. Considering the situation with juvenile criminals, all the components are focused, namely, on a victim, a community, and an offender.

Fifth, no specific programs are required for released adults. In case with juveniles, a person may be sent to Multisystemic Therapy, Multidimensional Family Therapy, or another program. It is possible to have a consultation in the Risk Reduction Centers, and sex offender treatment may be imposed.

Next, in case with juveniles, they are not allowed to have a public trial. A judge hearing is imposed (adjudication hearing). Therefore, procedure differs significantly from the point of view of participants of the affair.

Finally, the purpose of the adjudication differs even though each of the courts wants to correct human behavior for better. Dealing with adults courts are aimed at punishing for committed crime, but juvenile courts are focused on a person’s rehabilitation.

Therefore, it is possible to conclude that even though adult and juvenile courts are directed at one and the same purpose in general, the processes, procedures and other aspects differ.

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