The creation of Justice Systems was out of the need to maintain law and order within any government system. Depending on the particular country’s constitution, justice systems may differ on the rulings, and the way disputes are settled. On the contrary, many things are similar, and this includes the separation of the adult and juvenile justice systems. While the adult system focus on law offenders who are of age, and that means eighteen years and above, the administration of juvenile justice was set apart for minors who are below the age of eighteen. Some states consider juveniles to be individuals between the ages of ten to eighteen while in others, juveniles are of the age of sixteen to seventeen. These systems, on the other hand, have similarities that are based on the Government’s justice system while most of the differences are mainly based on the fact that juveniles are considered ‘immature’ minors (Steinberg, Cauffman, & Monahan, 2015).
Similarities between a Juvenile and Adult Justice Systems and Analysis
In both the justice systems, the juvenile and the adult are allowed and given a chance to acquire attorneys purposely for representation and to defend them all through. Furthermore, unlike most individuals, attorneys are well conversant with the law, how to file court documents and are familiar with the way to handle any legal procedures. Therefore, the attorney of either the adult or the juvenile offenders is in a better position to negotiate for a desirable option on behalf of their client.
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According to Peter Clarke (2017), the acquired attorney of either party has a right to examine and question witnesses, which ensures that the jury or judge in charge of the adult and juvenile offenders respectively have been presented with proper information that would be vital to making final decisions on the case at hand.
As mentioned earlier, legal matters are complicated, and this may render the accused to be in a position that might lead them to self-incriminating themselves. Self-incrimination is the act of exposing oneself to the charged charge. Therefore, the justice system ensures that both the adult and the juvenile offenders do not end up self-incriminating themselves. Also, both the justice systems ensure that the individuals have a right to a ‘notice of the charges,’ which prepares and gives them time to find and seek an attorney who will guide them and represent them as mentioned earlier.
While both the Justice systems must come to a verdict or a decision on what will happen to the accused individuals, the prosecution is expected to provide enough and reasonable evidence before conviction of the defendant. The evidence is supposed to lead and provide the jury with concrete information that is always used as a guide to decision making.
Difference between a Juvenile and Adult Justice Systems and Analysis
Despite the mentioned similarities, the juvenile and the adult justice systems comprise of differences that make them so distinct from each other. For instance, while adults are convicted of the crime they are accused of, the juvenile offenders are charged with ‘delinquency’ and hence are not judged guilty but are judged delinquent. Delinquency is the state at which one does not comply with the expected obligations assigned to them or doing the opposite of what they are supposed to do - misdeed. The justice systems focus on punishing adults so that to curb repetition of the same acts either by the same individual or any other individual. On the other hand, the charges of the juvenile are based on improving the character and habits of the minors through rehabilitation which is mostly done through probation and parole, mainly because the juvenile justice systems aim at preventing the children from ending up in prisons at their age and later in life.
While the adult faces a trial with number judges, lawyers, and the public, the juvenile faces a hearing handled by a single judge hence it’s not as official as the adult criminal justice system. The limit of civilians to a minor justice system is focused on safeguarding the minor from public prosecution and preventing them from being stigmatized. The adults are considered to be in a position to differentiate between right and wrong compared to the juvenile who is growing and learning to differentiate between good and evil.
In the case of an adult criminal justice, the accused is taken through a trial that requires extensive legal evidence and facts whereas the juvenile offender is taken through a hearing that seeks to analyze the criminals, hence the use of a psychological approach which goes deep into the social background of the minor.
Reasons and Principles behind the Differences between Juvenile and Adult Justice Systems
As mentioned earlier, the adult offenders are considered mature enough to be in a position to differentiate between right and wrong according to what is expected of them which is contrary to the juvenile delinquents. Furthermore, the minors are different according to their development all round which includes psychological, physical, social and spiritual development. Therefore are quick to respond to issues and offer but never consider the consequences (Monahan, Steinberg and Piquero, 2015). About the verdict posed on juvenile, the justice system is focused on correcting them before they become adults hence preventing them from becoming worse citizens. On the other hand, adults are punished in the prevention of a repetition of the offense.
The justice systems of the young and adults are both focused on ensuring that law and order are abided with by all citizens despite their differences. Moreover, the similarities are based on the legal requirements from every citizen. The juvenile offenders are mainly protected from stigmatization and indulgence in crime in later years, whereas adults are controlled and hindered from repeating crime committed through the punishment and imprisonment.
Clarke, P. (2017). Juvenile vs. Adult Criminal System Legal Match Law Library. [Online] Legalmatch.com. Available at: http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/juvenile-vs-adult-criminal-system.html [Accessed 16 Jan. 2017].
Monahan, K., Steinberg, L., and Piquero, A. (2015). Juvenile Justice Policy and Practice: A Developmental Perspective. Crime and Justice, 44(1), pp.577-619.
Steinberg, L., Cauffman, E., & Monahan, K. C. (2015). Psychosocial Maturity and Desistance from Crime in a Sample of Serious Juvenile Offenders. Office of the Juvenile and Justice and Delinquency Prevention.