The Constitutionality Of The Juvenile Justice System

1634 WordsMar 10, 20167 Pages
The juvenile justice system has grown and changed substantially since 1899, when the nation’s first juvenile court was established in Illinois. Originally, the court process was informal often nothing more than a conversation between the youth and the judge and the defendant lacked legal representation. To replace confinement in jails with adults, the early juvenile courts created a probation system and used a separate service delivery system to provide minors with supervision, guidance, and education. Soon every state and the District of Columbia had followed Illinois’s lead and established a juvenile court. In 1967, in a landmark ruling in the case of In re Gault, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that the Constitution requires that youth in the juvenile system have many of the same rights guaranteed to adults accused of crimes, including the right to an attorney and the right to confront witnesses against them. Later, the Supreme Court gave youth constitutional rights to have trials that require proof beyond a reasonable doubt; and gave youth a constitutional right against double jeopardy (Youth in the Justice System, n.d.). Historically, it was established that minors were too young to be held responsible for criminal behavior and the juvenile law system was set up to handle these offenders, with a focus on rehabilitation, not punishment. However, although still under the legal age of majority, it is becoming more and more common for a minor who commits a serious crime

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