And irrespective of the fact that the sexual act was consensual or not, the Act entails seven to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment. The newly amended Act has also included death penalty for sexual assault of children. For instance, a relationship involving a minor girl and a borderline major should be treated less stringently, as compared to an instance where the man is older than the girl by several years. Kumar cited an instance where a year-old girl had eloped with a year-old boy, however, under the provisions of the Act, the boy was sentenced to nine years in prison.
The state is required to prove every element of the allegation beyond a reasonable doubt. The adjudicatory hearing may result in the youth being found to have committed the delinquent act and equivalent to a finding of guilt and a conviction in a criminal trial , in which case a disposition hearing will be scheduled. The latter may occur if the judge orders the youth to undertake some kind of action prior to the final decision being made National Research Council, a.
The dispositional hearing is similar to the sentencing hearing in the criminal court. Some states allow a dispositional hearing immediately after the adjudicatory hearing if the youth admits to the offense, but usually time is required to complete a social history or receive evidence. In several states, there are time limits to the period between the adjudication and disposition phases Binder et al. A judge can decide on probation, placement in a foster home, institutionalization, or some other alternative for the youth, such as referral to a treatment program, imposition of a fine, community service, victim-offender mediation, or restitution.
Probation is the most common disposition for youth who receive a juvenile court sanction Snyder and Sickmund, However, for many youth, counsel are not often involved in the postdisposition stage and as a result are not available to advise on many important postdisposition matters see Chapter 7.
Youth who commit technical violations of the court-approved plan not new alleged delinquent acts will be handled in the same manner as a new delinquency petition alleging a misdemeanor or felony National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, A full and accurate description of juvenile court administration is incomplete without addressing the impact of the due process requirements mandated by various decisions of the Supreme Court in the s and s.
These decisions 2 are discussed in Chapter 2. Among the pro-.
United States , U. Jones , U. Other due process requirements, such as right to bail and the right to trial by jury found in criminal courts, were not mandated for the juvenile court. Although the states incorporated due process requirements into their state codes, it is difficult to generalize about the extent of their implementation given the diverse practices of juvenile courts. Little research exists on the contemporary juvenile court more generally or on the philosophies and practices of those who administer and work in it Bishop, ; Tanenhaus, Scholars who have studied juvenile courts typically describe the gap between the intent of due process requirements the ideal and actual practice Feld, , ; Binder, ; Mears, Mears, in particular, concludes that genuine due process probably constitutes the exception rather than the norm , p.
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Feld takes a somewhat different tack, arguing that the current due process rights are inadequate to begin with and additional procedural safeguards are needed to protect youth from their immaturity and vulnerability This gap is reflected in findings relating to access to counsel e. Almost three decades after Gault , a national survey of the defense bar Puritz et al. They also reported enormous caseloads of more than cases a year and large turnovers of staff, with 55 percent of public defenders staying less than 24 months.
More recently, state-by-state assessments conducted during and reflect large numbers of youth waiving counsel, failing to have counsel appointed, or not availing themselves of counsel early in the process. Other state findings reflect inadequate legal representation, with states reporting limited contact with juvenile clients, failure to perform necessary background investigations, and a lack of training Mlyniec, These findings have implications for whether fairness is being achieved but also whether the process is being perceived as fair by youth and their families.
See Chapter 7 for more detail on the status of defense representation. Despite the change from the traditional rehabilitation model to a more adversarial one with its due process requirements, the juvenile court retains broad powers over those who come under its jurisdiction Tanenhaus, Having defense counsel can serve as a check against decisions that are unfounded or not in the best interest of the youth National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, , and all 50 states provide some statutory right to counsel for youth accused of delinquency in the juvenile justice system.
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Nonetheless, access to counsel and the quality of legal representation for youth appear to be uneven and haphazard Puritz et al. Finally, most juvenile courts allow young offenders to waive those rights; others have been noted for their aggressiveness in encouraging waivers Binder et al. Analyzing the operations of juvenile justice systems is not the same as analyzing juvenile crime itself.
The workloads of law enforcement agencies and courts are partly the result of the scale and intensity of illegal activity by youth, and partly a function of how likely it is that citizens report crimes and how likely it is that police and courts decide to intervene. The combined effect of these factors can be profound. The odds of a particular crime being reported vary, and the odds of that report resulting in an arrest and that arrest resulting in a referral to the justice system also vary. In the end, the youth processed by the juvenile justice system are merely a sample of all young people involved in illegal behavior.
Self-reported delinquency data obtained from youth directly suggest that half of all year-old youth may have done something in the previous year that could have resulted in their arrest. According to the annual Monitoring the Future surveys administered by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, 27 percent of all tenth graders or year-olds report having used an illegal drug in the previous 12 months Johnston et al.
According to the U. Census Bureau, in , the resident population of year-olds in the United States was approximately 4. If 27 percent of these youth used illegal drugs, this would suggest that the pool of violators among year-olds could be as high as 1. Juvenile courts nationwide report that they handled just 36, delinquency cases in involving year-old juveniles charged with drug offenses Puzzancheraet, Adams, and Sickmund, A similar heuristic exercise can be undertaken for other offenses.
For example, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health 3 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, estimates that 4 percent of all year-olds carried a handgun at least once in the past year. Yet law enforcement agencies across the United States reported just 27, weapon arrests involving youth who were age 15 Snyder and Mulako-Wangota, , suggesting that police may have had contact with just 16 percent of the year-olds who could have been arrested for weapon possession at least once if their offense had been detected.
The committee recognizes that the Fourth Amendment and general respect for individual privacy substantially limits the detection of drug and weapons offenses and that arrests will and should necessarily be limited. However, these data are useful reminders that the scale of the juvenile justice system, the number and characteristics of arrestees, and the odds of any particular youth being involved in the justice system may vary depending on political decisions and structural disparities that influence the level of resources and personnel that will be deployed to detect, apprehend, and prosecute young offenders in various communities.
Several methods are used to measure the amount of juvenile crime and delinquency in the United States. Of course, there is no perfect way to estimate the total volume of juvenile crime or to predict future changes in juvenile offending. Official data from law enforcement and courts, however, allow one to appreciate the scale of juvenile crime trends and to place current crime levels in the proper context.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health is based on a randomly selected sample of 70, individuals. Although the methodology aims at ensuring as representative a sample as possible, the results are an approximation and cannot be assumed to be true for the entire U. The UCR data represent reported crimes and the arrests made by police in thousands of cities and towns across the country. It is not possible to analyze the crimes committed by juveniles because, until an arrest is made in response to a crime, the age of the offender is unknown.
Nor is an arrest dispositive of guilt. Because youth tend to commit crime in groups more often than adults do Snyder and Sickmund, , they may be committing fewer crimes than aggregated arrest numbers suggest. It also means that the available measures of juvenile crime are affected by law enforcement resources.
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The first step in using this information for analyzing juvenile crime is to create national estimates of juvenile arrests. The UCR reports do not include data from all jurisdictions in the country, only those jurisdictions able to report data on time and in the format required by the FBI. In recent years, the jurisdictions included in the UCR reporting sample accounted for 70 to 78 percent of the U.
The FBI creates one national arrest estimate for each major offense by taking the total number of arrests reported in each offense category and weighting the number to represent the national population see Federal Bureau of Investigation, , Table For example, in the FBI estimated that law enforcement agencies across the country made a total of These arrests, however, involved offenders of all ages.
To track arrests of juveniles i. Beginning in the s, the U. Using a method developed by Howard N. Snyder now with the Bureau of Justice Statistics at the U. Department of Justice , data from UCR-participating jurisdictions was analyzed to determine the proportion of arrests reported for each offense that involved individuals of various ages. Those proportions were then applied to the national estimate for each offense as published by the FBI , Table Next, per capita rates of arrest were determined by dividing each of these national arrest estimates over the appropriate population data from the U.
Census Bureau. National arrest estimates created with this method were routinely published in reports from the Office of Juvenile. Justice and Delinquency Prevention Butts, Using these methods of estimation, the total number of juvenile under age 18 arrests made by law enforcement in was more than 1.
The remainder of arrests 1,, were for nonindex crimes, such as simple assaults, property crimes buying, receiving, possessing stolen property; vandalism , white-collar crimes forgery, counter feiting , nuisance crimes vagrancy, curfew and loitering violations , nonviolent sex offenses prostitution and commercialized vice , and offenses involving alcohol, drugs, gambling, and domestic issues.
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The majority of juvenile arrests involved youth ages 16 or older. In , these older teens were involved in 54 percent of all juvenile arrests. The volume and rate of juvenile arrests fluctuated from through Beginning in , the total number of juvenile arrests grew more than 40 percent, from 1. Arrests then fell dramatically, reaching a year low of 1.
The direction and scale of change varied significantly by offense. Property offenses in general fell generally consistently through Juvenile arrests for burglary, for example, plummeted from just under , in to slightly fewer than 66, in Juvenile arrests for weapon offenses followed a pattern similar to that of the Violent Crime Index offenses. When viewed as per capita rates arrests per , people ages in the U.
Estimates for calculated directly using data from Federal Bureau of Investigation After fluctuating for several years, the violent crime arrest rate dropped below per , in With few exceptions, juvenile arrest rates for the most serious property offenses i. The juvenile arrest rate for burglary has been in a steep decline, from arrests per , in to fewer than arrests per , in Juvenile arrests for motor vehicle theft reached a peak of nearly per , in the late s and plummeted to below 50 per , in Other offense types show a very different pattern.
But unlike arrests for violent offenses, the number of juvenile arrests for these offenses never quite returned to pre levels. They remained at the.
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