Due process for adult offenders

Since the establishment of the first juvenile court in Cook County, Illinois in , states have recognized that children who commit crimes are different from adults; as a class, they are less blameworthy, and they have a greater capacity for change. By the mid s, every state in the country had established a separate system of criminal justice designed to acknowledge those differences called the juvenile justice system. The juvenile justice system has grown and changed substantially since Originally, the court process was informal—often nothing more than a conversation between the youth and the judge—and the defendant lacked legal representation. Proceedings were conducted behind closed doors with little public or community awareness of how the juvenile court operated or what happened to the children who appeared before it. Rather than confine young people in jails with adults, the early juvenile courts created a probation system and separate rehabilitation and treatment facilities to provide minors with supervision, guidance, and education.
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How A Lack of Juvenile Due Process Undermines Our Justice System

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Youth in the Justice System: An Overview | Juvenile Law Center

Adults in the criminal justice system have had the right to due process of law since the constitution was ratified, but our history with juvenile due process is much shorter and shakier. Today, many juveniles struggle to gain access to proper legal counsel, amid other rights due to them by the court system. Juveniles were first tried separately from adults in Illinois in when the first juvenile court was established. The rest of the states followed and established their own juvenile court systems, and all but two states had separate systems by
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All fifty states and the District of Columbia provide for dealing with juvenile offenders outside the criminal system for adult offenders. The reforms of the early part of the 20th century provided not only for segregating juveniles from adult offenders in the adjudication, detention, and correctional facilities, but they also dispensed with the substantive and procedural rules surrounding criminal trials which were mandated by due process. Justification for this abandonment of constitutional guarantees was offered by describing juvenile courts as civil not criminal and as not dispensing criminal punishment, and offering the theory that the state was acting as parens patriae for the juvenile offender and was in no sense his adversary.
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