Juvenile Justice System

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The juvenile justice system is a foundation in society that is granted certain powers and responsibilities. It faces several different tasks, among the most important is maintaining order and preserving constitutional rights. When a juvenile is arrested and charged with committing a crime there are many different factors that will come in to play during the course of his arrest, trial, conviction, sentencing, and rehabilitation process. This paper examines the Juvenile Justice System’s court process in the State of New Jersey and the State of California.

The term juvenile delinquent was established so that young lawbreakers could avoid being classified in legal records as criminals. “The laws were designed to provide treatment, rather than punishment, for juvenile offenders” (Neubauer, 444) California is a decentralized state which means that delinquency services are organized at both the state and local level in California. County probation departments administer detention, commitment, delinquency intake screening, predisposition investigation, and probation supervision (Neubauer, 447). New Jersey is a combination state where the state operates most delinquency services for youth in New Jersey, with the exception of secure detention. However, responsibility is divided between the state judicial and state executive branches (Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice).

Juvenile delinquency is behavior that if committed by an adult would constitute a crime or disorderly persons offense (Neubauer, 446). Every state has their own definition of adolescent offenders and decided in different ways how they should treat them. Under both California and New Jersey laws children are considered minors until the age of eighteen. In both N.J. ...

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...t neither they nor society are best served by treating young children like adults. New Jersey and California juvenile courts have a very similar process and both states share an ultimate goal of public safety and treatment and rehabilitation of juvenile offenders.


Access to Juvenile Courts: A Reporter’s Guide to Proceedings & Documents

in the 50 States & D.C. (2008). “Access to Juvenile Courts.”

Retrieved April 15,2008, from

Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice (2008). “Intro to California’s Juvenile

Justice System.” Retrieved on April 18, 2008, from

Neubauer, David W. America’s Courts and The Criminal Justice System.

California: Wadsworth, 2005 (8 Edition). (444-451)

State of New Jersey Judiciary. Retrieved April 18, 2008, from
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