Aspects of Juvenile Justice Process


When a juvenile is arrested for delinquency, he or she must be informed of their legal rights as soon as possible. It is important to note that the Attorney General (US Attorney) will be informed (Kratcoski, 2020). The juvenile’s parents, guardian, or custodian must be advised of their arrest, as well as their rights and the nature of the alleged offense, as quickly as practical (Kratcoski, 2020). This obligation is triggered when a juvenile is placed in custody following the filing of information alleging delinquent conduct rather than when the juvenile is arrested and placed in administrative detention.

Continued Custody Hearing

If a juvenile is held in custody for more than 72 hours after being apprehended, he or she must be brought before the court. The court examines whether there was probable cause to take the youth into custody and if there is a continuing need to detain the juvenile at this hearing, which is known as a continuous custody hearing (Kratcoski, 2020). If the judge keeps the juvenile in custody, the court may impose bail.


Without resorting to legal consequences, judicial monitoring, or the prospect of incarceration, juvenile diversion programs and techniques hold youth accountable for their actions. A good example is having a school administrator deal with a truant student rather than the juvenile court system (Kratcoski, 2020). Regardless of the form diversion takes, the goal is for young people to mature into adults without being thrown off track by the negative consequences of involvement with the justice system (Burke, 2021). It is a criminal record, which can severely limit young people’s future employment and educational opportunities.

Secure Detention

Secure detention is usually reserved for the most at-risk youth or those who have been charged with severe crimes. Youth who are alleged or judged juvenile delinquents, juvenile offenders, or teenage offenders can be remanded to secure confinement by the court (Burke, 2021). These institutions and the people that work there are intended to ensure the protection of both juveniles and the general public (Kratcoski, 2020). Moreover, they maintain humane and constitutional confinement circumstances, and perform a range of additional tasks, depending on the kind of facility.

Judicial Waiver to Adult Criminal Court

The most prevalent procedure is a judicial waiver, which allows juvenile court judges to transfer cases to adult criminal court at their discretion. Direct file, which allows prosecutors to bring criminal charges against minors directly in criminal court, and statutory exclusion, which requires juvenile prosecution in adult court, are two other transfer methods (Burke, 2021). Waiver laws aim to address primary crime-control difficulties, reconcile contradictory impulses that arise when a youth is a criminal, and reconcile cultural conflicts between teenage immaturity and criminal responsibility.


The court must make a finding detailing which offenses, including grading and counts, were committed by the juvenile within seven days of hearing the evidence on the petition or accepting an admission. If the court determines that the juvenile did not do any of the claimed delinquent acts, the petition will be dismissed (Burke, 2021). If the court determines that the juvenile committed any claimed criminal actions, it may impose a consent decree if all parties agree or hold a hearing to decide if the juvenile requires treatment, monitoring, or rehabilitation.

Residential Placement

Juvenile justice residential settings are used for various legal reasons, although they are most commonly used as a disposition after being adjudged delinquent in juvenile court. They are also used while awaiting juvenile court judgments like an arraignment, adjudication, disposition, or placement (Burke, 2021). Residential programs come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from huge, secure institutions to smaller, more homelike settings (Kratcoski, 2020). These residential programs’ purpose, services, rules, aims, and objectives vary.

Comparison with Adult Court System

Adults are charged with “committing crimes,” whereas juveniles are accused with “delinquent actions.” If the delinquent acts are very serious, such as murder or other violent crimes, the court system may elect to prosecute the juvenile as an adult, in which case they would be tried in the adult criminal justice system (Burke, 2021). Instead of a public trial with a jury, juveniles are tried in what is known as an adjudication hearing (Kratcoski, 2020). During an adjudication hearing, a judge hears all of the evidence before deciding whether or not the juvenile is delinquent.

The purpose of the adult criminal justice system is to punish, but the goal of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate and do what is best for the youth. As a result, several alternative sentencings are employed to keep minors out of prison. Probation, diversionary programs, and parole are some of the options available (Kratcoski, 2020). It is critical for adolescents to accept responsibility for their conduct in the juvenile justice system (Burke, 2021). Simultaneously, the system reacts in a way that recognizes that their degree of maturity differs from that of an adult. While juveniles have the same legal rights as adults, certain rights are protected more specifically under the juvenile justice system (Burke, 2021). The right to an attorney, the right to privacy, and particular protections when a minor is questioned by the police are only a few of them.


Burke, A. S. (2021). Introduction to the American criminal justice system. OpenOregon.

Kratcoski, P. C. (2020). Juvenile delinquency (6th ed.). Springer.

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LawBirdie. 2023. "Aspects of Juvenile Justice Process." October 20, 2023.

1. LawBirdie. "Aspects of Juvenile Justice Process." October 20, 2023.


LawBirdie. "Aspects of Juvenile Justice Process." October 20, 2023.