Juvenile justice is based in part on the belief that juvenile offenders, more so than adults, are redeemable. The origins of juvenile law in the U.S. can be traced back to the mid-1800s, when lawmakers began to worry that institutionalizing children with adults was doing more harm than good. In an attempt to save these children, a progressive era in juvenile law sprang forth, and with it came the early stages of our modern juvenile justice system.
Crimes committed as a juvenile can often haunt a person for many years. While most juvenile criminal records are sealed once the offender becomes an adult, in some cases, a juvenile crime record can continue to cause problems for former offenders. New Jersey residents may be interested to learn about a man who fought to have his juvenile criminal record erased after 18 years of living a crime-free life.
When juveniles are involved in violent crimes, long-term consequences can impact their future. In some cases, juvenile law procedures in an area may allow authorities to charge suspects as adults, which can create even more dire consequences if individuals are convicted. Such ramifications may be facing four juveniles who are suspected of being involved in more than a dozen violent crimes in New Jersey.
Juvenile law cases often involve different legal strategies from adult criminal cases. It is important for those accused, as well as their families, to fully understand the charges brought against them and all of their legal options.
In an effort to minimize the number of juvenile crimes that take place in the Hackensack school district, a school police officer called a "school resource officer," was hired 24 years ago to patrol the halls of the Hackensack school system. Now that officer is retiring and he says he has seen major changes.
In New Jersey, anyone age 17 or younger is considered a juvenile. Defendants age 16 and older who have been accused of juvenile crimes including homicide, kidnapping, aggravated assault, or other violent crimes, can be transferred to adult court. Who is responsible for deciding if a child should be transferred to adult court was recently debated by the New Jersey Supreme Court.
New Jersey students may do well to behave. Hundreds of schools in one Southern state use police to keep order. And there's no reason to suspect the trend won't spread across the nation.