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Bringing Juvenile Court to Order

NCJ Number
Future Choices Toward a National Youth Policy Volume: 1 Issue: 3 Dated: (Winter 1989) Pages: 9-22
J Lo
Date Published
14 pages
Probably the biggest problem with the juvenile court system is that juveniles detained are often denied the right to counsel and other due process of the laws while being adjudicated.
Another problem is that the juvenile court system is continually given more duties and responsibilities than it can handle. Juvenile court is plagued by the conflicts of its "schizophrenic mandate." The court is expected to carry out not only the role of a welfare agency for the rehabilitation of wayward youths, but also the role of protecting society from the threats posed by juvenile delinquents. Judges in many juvenile courts wield broad discretionary powers, abusing these powers by disregarding due process rights of detained juveniles and forming "one-man authoritarian empires." All of these problems are further aggravated by the jurisdictional problem of whether to try a juvenile in adult or juvenile court, and the State unwillingness to provide resources in terms of money, facilities, and people necessary to permit the courts to perform more effectively. Future options to rectify these problems include abolishing the entire system or reforming the system by prohibiting the confinement of juveniles in adult jails and police lockups, closing training schools, and overhauling juvenile probation programs. 47 footnotes.