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Until 1899, children from seven years old and above were tragically tried and sentenced to prison or death by a criminal court when convicted of a crime. They were sentenced to adult prison and suffered the same severity of punishment, prison abuse, and hard labor until prison reforms were made. Juvenile courts came into being after young children who were pardoned could not be rehabilitated back into society due to the prison mentality they suffered. This article will discuss 10 Things You Should Know About Juvenile Criminals and Sentencing.


The concept of juvenile crime and sentencing took a legal turn in 1899 when children were tried as children instead of miniature adults. This stance meant kids were treated with compassion and often time was reprimanded and placed under house arrest or probation instead of prison.


What Is Juvenile Crime?


These are crimes committed by a young adult under the age of 18. Crimes can range from a simple misdemeanor to serious offenses like murder, rape, and kidnapping. The juvenile crime system is treated separately from the adult justice system and is often more lenient.


However, a juvenile can/will be tried as an adult if the offense is considered appalling and severe or if they are repeat offenders. Each state in the U.S. has its juvenile system and procedures, and juveniles are trailed accordingly in the state the offense is committed.


As we discussed juvenile crimes and sentencing, we will slot in 10 things you should know about the topic with the article. So read carefully and page attention.

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No. 1 – A Case Can Be Presided Over By A Judge


A juvenile crime is treated as a criminal proceeding that is presided over by a judge to determine if the case is a delinquent act or not. In most cases, witnesses, evidence, and arguments are presented in court for a final verdict of guilty or not guilty.


No. 2 - A Juvenile Is Eligible To A Consent Decree.


A consent decree is a special disposition that gives the young offender some privileges. They will pass through juvenile detention or probation after which the case is dismissed if they successfully complete it. However, young, nonviolent offenders are sentenced to a shock camp or boot camp where a military-style disciplinary action is offered as a form of rehabilitation.


What Is The Average Age For A Juvenile Criminal?


Factually speaking, the U.S. does not have a definitive age for juveniles to be tried for an offense committed. With that said, children or juvenile offenders are treated as criminals, and sentencing is handed down relative to the crime committed. However, states like North Carolina and Wisconsin have ages seven and 10 years old, respectively, for offenders. The United Nations committee indicates that 12 years should be the ‘absolute minimum age for a child to face criminal proceedings.

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No. 3 – They Can Be Transferred To An Adult Court


A juvenile can be referred to an adult court depending on the crime and state. In some cases, the juvenile will defend their case in an adult justice system, especially when the charges are grave.


No. 4 - The Right To Appeal A Disposition Order


This is similar to an appeal, and the judge can be requested to issue an Order if the juvenile turns a good leaf. However, the juvenile must prove that the appeal will enable them to make the necessary changes and is in their best interest.


No. 5 – They Have The Right To A Lawyer


Regardless of the various sentencing options available for juveniles, they have the right to a lawyer to help them comprehend the process and get a better verdict at the end.


No. 6 - What Race And Gender Comprise The Bulk Of Juvenile Crimes?


Quite frankly, every race has its fair share of delinquent offenders, whether black, white, Asian or otherwise. Boys were thought to be prone to delinquent behaviors, but female delinquents are on the rise.


 No. 7 - Popular Crimes Committed By Juveniles


According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), juveniles commit crimes in five categories, namely:


• Crimes against a person like murder, rape, gang violence, assaults, and robbery

• Crimes against property like burglary, arson, car theft, and larceny

• Drug abuse and driving under the influence (DUI) offenses

• Possession of a weapon or drugs

• Disturbing the peace, public nuisance, and traffic violations

• Most recently, cybercrimes, including financial and fraudulent practices


These are some of the crimes that can get a juvenile arrested, probably tried in an adult court, and sentenced.


No. 8 – A Juvenile Can Be Tried As An Adult And Sent To Adult Prison


Yes, they can and are. If a juvenile has a previous record of offense, he or she may be tried as an adult in an adult courtroom even from the age of 13. If the juvenile is 15 or 16 years old, they are tried as adults for offenses like murder, sexual assault, and armed robbery using a firearm.

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Why Juveniles Get Into Crime?


Most juveniles suffer insistent abuse and lack of responsible adult interaction, guidance, and supervision growing up. This lapse coupled with peer pressure and looking to fit into society can translate into delinquent behaviors. Contrary to the common belief that most delinquent children are from poor, single-parent homes, delinquent kids are from all strata of society. Male juvenile offenders, sadly and particularly, black juvenile offenders can end up contributing to the incarceration rate if they are not set on the right path through things such as their upbringing, peer influences, drug involvement, choices, etc.


No. 9 – Juveniles Can Have Their Case(s) Expunged Or Sealed If They Turn 18 Years Of Age In Juvenile Detention?


Yes, this is true. If a juvenile is sentenced for an offense to juvenile detention or prison, he or she can petition a court to have their case sealed or deleted from the record as they come out of juvenile jail or detention at 18 years old.

What Types Of Facilities Do Juveniles Serve Time At?


Although some states still send juveniles with serious offenses to adult prisons, the appropriate facilities are juvenile detention centers (JDC), boot camps, shock camps, group and rehabilitation homes, shelters, diagnostic centers, or long-term secure facilities.


No. 10 – Rehabilitation For Juveniles


Well, if you call correctional facilities rehabilitation centers, then juveniles can possibly be rehabilitated. However, most people argue that because they are still young and likely to repeat the same offense, in this case, rehabilitation is not effective. For delinquents dealing with drugs, mental and physical abuse, emotional, and behavioral problems, required rehabilitation may be viewed as a helpful strategy.


What Are The Outcomes For Recidivism For Released Juveniles?


Recidivism is high among juveniles. One study shows that almost 70% of released juveniles were brought in for the same crime or a new crime. African Americans have the highest recidivism rates, followed by whites and Hispanics, with males having a higher number than females. Juveniles are not wired like adults; they see detention as a free time to rest and are released into the same atmosphere, family, friends, and circumstances making reoffending very likely.




Juveniles can get into serious trouble, and sentencing can impact their loved ones, families, and futures. While the options are probation or other incarceration options, the chance of going to jail or prison is on the table.


in mind that the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of all countries with black men comprising the highest percentage of prisoners. If your juvenile has committed a punishable crime, your best bet is to hire a skilled lawyer with a good track record to oversee the case. It is also important for you as a parent or caretaker to get down to the bottom of and resolve the issues of how and why your teen or young child is at risk of getting into trouble or locked up for committing juvenile crimes.


For more information on helping an incarcerated loved, click the links, below:

(Disclaimer: Affiliate Advertising. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.)


The Evolution of the Juvenile Court: Race, Politics, and the Criminalizing of Juvenile Justice (Youth, Crime, and Justice, 4) By Barry C. Feld


Delinquent: How the American Juvenile Court is Failing Black Children By Daphne Robinson


Juvenile Delinquency: Pathways and Prevention 1st Edition By Christopher A. Mallett