Juvenile Sentencing

974 WordsApr 22, 20134 Pages
Juvenile courts have a wide range of sentencing options (usually called "disposition orders") that they can impose on juveniles or youth offenders who are found to be "delinquent" (that is, finding that the minor violated a criminal law). Typically, disposition options fall into two camps: incarceration and non-incarceration. One non-incarceration option in particular -- probation -- forms the backbone of the juvenile justice system. Read on to learn about the different kinds of sentencing options used in juvenile court, the ins and outs of probation, and whether a disposition order can be appealed or changed. (For more information on juvenile court cases, see Nolo's article Juvenile Court: An Overview.) Incarcerating Juvenile Delinquents…show more content…
Probation has been called the "workhorse" of the juvenile justice system -- according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, probation is the most common disposition in juvenile cases that receive a juvenile court sanction. In an average year, about half of all minors judged to be delinquent receive probation as the most restrictive sentence. Specific terms of probation vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and from case to case. Typically, a juvenile must obey both the general terms of probation and any additional requirements tailored to the particular case. The court usually expects that parents or a guardian will help the juvenile fulfill the conditions of the probation order. These conditions can include community service, attendance at a certain school, counseling, curfews, and orders that the juvenile not associate with certain individuals (as in cases involving suspected gang members). As part of probation, some juveniles must attend special day treatment programs that provide additional monitoring and educational services -- including anger management classes, social skills building, and substance abuse education. Probation Officers A juvenile placed on probation is assigned to a probation officer who monitors the youth's compliance with the court's disposition order. The juvenile meets with the probation officer periodically (weekly or twice month, for example), and the juvenile's parents or
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