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Juvenile Crime and Punishments

Juvenile crime and punishments can be different from the types of punishments that are ordered in adult criminal cases. The first court established expressly for juveniles was built in Chicago in 1899 to address the issue of juvenile crime and punishments. Juvenile crime and punishments peaked in 1994. The 1990s saw a swell of public scrutiny over the perceived juvenile crime epidemic. In an effort to crack down on juvenile crime and punishments, many state legislatures have adopted harsher laws regarding juvenile crimes.

In 2002, 2.3 million juveniles were arrested for committing crimes. Juveniles are involved in one in ten murders, one in eight drug abuse violations, one in five weapons violations and one in four robberies. Juvenile crime and punishments comprise approximately one quarter of all violent crimes committed each year.

Most juveniles enter the legal system following a law enforcement arrest. Two thirds of juvenile crime and punishments are handled through a juvenile court system. In some cases juvenile crime and punishments are handled through the adult court system. The adult criminal legal system is used more often in criminal cases where a minor is closer to adulthood or when more serious crimes have been committed.

As of 1999, the District of Columbia and 25 states had no minimum age for which juvenile crime and punishments could be processed through the adult legal system. Forty one states have statutes that make it easier to try minors as adults. Some research on juvenile crime and punishments indicates that minors who are charged as adults are twice as likely to be rearrested in future criminal offenses as are minors who are tried in the juvenile court system.

When juvenile crime and punishments are handled through the juvenile legal system, the courts have a few options. Judgments regarding juvenile crime and punishment can order probation or out-of-home residential placement. They also have the authority to waive jurisdiction in a case and transfer it directly to the adult criminal system.

The judgments on juvenile crime and punishment will often order probation for a youth offender. Some communities even use probation to monitor at-risk youth in an attempt to defray the likelihood that these minors will progress to more serious criminal involvement. The juvenile court system orders probation approximately two thirds of the time and out of home residential placement about 15 percent of the time.

Out of home placement in a residential facility imposes significant restrictions on a juvenile offender's freedoms. There are some difficulties that result from these types of juvenile crime and punishments outcomes, but access to reentry and aftercare services can help minor offenders thrive in a non-institutional environment after release.

Retaining the services of a qualified juvenile crime and punishments attorney can help protect and maximize a juvenile's rights and interests in a criminal case.

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