Essay about History of the Juvenile Justice System

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This paper will discuss the history of the juvenile justice system and how it has come to be what it is today. When a juvenile offender commits a crime and is sentenced to jail or reform school, the offender goes to a separate jail or reforming place than an adult. It hasn’t always been this way. Until the early 1800’s juveniles were tried just like everyone else. Today, that is not the case. This paper will explain the reforms that have taken place within the criminal justice system that developed the juvenile justice system. Before the Progressive Era, children who were over the age of seven were put in jail with adults. In the early part of the 1800’s reformers started to become concerned with the overcrowded environment in the…show more content…
The child-essentially good, as they saw it was made to feel that he is the object of the state's care and solicitude, not that he was under arrest or on trial” (In re Gault, 1967). The rising viewpoint of the child savers was that of parens patriae which said that the state had an assenting duty to get involved and care for the less fortunate kids. In 1899, the first court devoted to hearing cases with juvenile delinquents was developed by the Illinois Legislature. The procedures in the juvenile court were much different from those of the criminal courts. The child would be accused of a crime they committed, but they were offered help, treatment, and direction (Myers, 2008). Juvenile hearings were held in private and the juvenile’s records were kept sealed to avoid the disgrace of a criminal conviction. Since the juvenile courts rejected punishment, they were allowed to have jurisdiction on things adult courts did not consider crimes. These offenses could be anything including truancy, disobedience, bad language, immorality, and vagrancy. Under parens patriae, the juvenile court was allowed to use wide range discretion to resolve the troubles of juvenile offenders and rejected the official procedures of the adult
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