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Juvenile and Adult Court Analysis

Juvenile courts are known for handling children under 18 years and accused of committing a criminal offense. The Juvenile court shares many characteristics with the adult courts, and there are also notable differences in terms of operations. Therefore this paper describes and analyzes the similarities and differences of the Juvenile and Adult court in depth.

The significant similarity in the Adult and Juvenile courts is in the offenders’ constitutional rights. The defendants in Juvenile courts are accorded almost all their constitutional rights to defendants in adult courts who have the right to trial by jury and public trial (Sanborn, 1992). When it comes to people’s rights in courts, the constitution is always used to protect defendants entitled to a fair judgment. The Juvenile and Adult courts understand that children and adults are protected constitutionally; therefore, they both have the right to express themselves and ensure the prosecution proves the charges against defendants beyond any doubts.

Another similarity between the juvenile and adult courts is in their universal goal. As stated by (Kupchik 2006), both adults and Juvenile courts are mandated to protect the public from offenders who are likely to cause harm. Just as the primary purpose of the constitution is to protect the people it governs, the courts are there to give reinforcement. Anyone who goes against the laws and regulations is either taken to the juvenile or adult court and punished accordingly. However, in providing justice to all, how punishment is administered in Juvenile courts is different from that of Adult courts.

Juvenile courts are more concerned on rehabilitation whereas the adult courts focus on administering punishment. According to Kupchik (2006), after realizing that children under the age of 18 are much different from adults, there was a need to develop strategies that will work effectively on children. For instance, correcting children to become better adults is possible and will play a significant role in transforming them into responsible people in the future. The adult courts offer punishment services mainly because it deals with grown-ups and is expected to follow the state laws and regulations. The difference between rehabilitation and punishment service is that children’s thinking capacity is way too low compared to adults who know what is right and wrong.

One of the fundamental differences between the Juvenile and adult courts is their operation. The Adult courts give trials to offend ants over the age of 18, while the Juvenile courts are specifically mandated to provide trials for children between 10 and 18(Butts & Mitchell,2000).In Juvenile courts, the defendants are not considered to have committed a criminal offense but somewhat delinquent acts. The difference in ages of the criminal suspects means that treatment is also different in the two courts because of the age factor. Therefore more complicated systems are used in adult courts because of their understanding of the laws and lessened in the Juvenile courts. For instance, in Juvenile courts, cases are heard by a judge who gives judgment on the delinquent act, but a jury trial is allowed in adult courts.

The criminal court sanctions of the Juvenile and Adult courts are also different. For instance, according to Fagan (1996), both courts’ reflections on the organizational contexts concerning legal decision-making are other. Adult courts receive the most complicated criminal cases compared to the Juvenile courts. Therefore, many investigations have to be done using professionals from various criminal departments to provide evidence. Adults engage in more illegal severe activities than children under 18 years. The more serious the crimes are, they are more likely to be given harsh treatment for sentencing. For instance, the number of years that children can get in the Juvenile courts is much lower than what is given to adults in the criminal courts.

From the above analysis of the Juvenile and Adult courts, it is clear that they both have a common goal of giving justice to people. All legal procedure is followed during trials, and constitutional rights also protect the defendants. Nevertheless, there are notable differences in who is to be tried in which courts. The Juvenile court offers more rehabilitation which means there is less sentencing than adult courts that provide long-term and harsh sentences as a form of punishment. The difference in age means of offenders also means that it is possible for someone to transit to Adult court from Juvenile court.


Butts, J. A., & Mitchell, O. (2000). Brick by brick: Dismantling the border between juvenile and adult justice. Criminal justice2, 167-213.

Fagan, J. (1996). The comparative advantage of juvenile versus criminal court sanctions on recidivism among adolescent felony offenders. Law & Policy18(1‐2), 77-114.

Kupchik, A. (2006). Judging juveniles: Prosecuting adolescents in adult and juvenile courts (Vol. 5). NYU Press.

Sanborn Jr, J. B. (1992). The right to a public jury trial: A need for today’s juvenile court. Judicature76, 230.


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