Juvenile Justice

juvenile justiceLegal Studies

Assessment Task

Core Focus Study: Crime

Juvenile Justice

Juvenile justice is part of criminal law related to people who aren’t old enough to be held responsible for criminal acts. In most states in Australia the responsibility is set at 18 years. Juvenile law is mostly governed by state law and most states which have performed a juvenile system. The main goal of the juvenile justice system is having cure and remedy rather than punishment.
The first juvenile court was finally established in Cook County, Illinois, 1899.  Similar to British the doctrine parens patriae served as the foundation for the right for the state to arbitrate and to provide protection for children whose parents did not provide care or supervision,
Until the 19th century, children were punished and treated in the same way as adults.  Men, women, adults, juveniles, mentally healthy, and mentally unhealthy people all together in the same place and treatment.

The juvenile court was established in the early 20th century on the belief that children are different to adults and should be treated in a different manner. Also it is the states responsibility to protect and rehabilitate young offenders. It was a law reform of natural justice and treating everyone equally. There were now significant differences in the juvenile and criminal court systems.  The focus of the juvenile court was on the offender and cure rather than punishment.  All crimes by individuals under the age of eighteen were in a juvenile court.

The juvenile court could be much more flexible and informal than the criminal court.  A range of characterised options related to the child’s situation, and not only to the crime, was now available to a judge.

In the 1960’s, there was a law reform and the Supreme Court made a series of decisions that formalized the juvenile courts and made them more like criminal courts.  Formal hearings were required in situations where juveniles were waived...