Juvenile Courts


What was the social and historical context in which the juvenile court was created? What has been the fundamental difference between the procedures used in juvenile courts and those employed in criminal (adult) courts?

Juvenile Court, authority charged with the disposition of legal actions involving children.One hundred years ago, the Illinois legislature enacted the Illinois Juvenile Court Act (1899 Ill. Laws 132 et seq.), creating the first separate juvenile court. The policy debates raging around the country in this centennial year(1899), however, make it uncertain whether the traditional juvenile court will prevail. Early in the 19th century, juveniles were tried along with adults in criminal courts. In common law, children under age 7 were conclusively presumed immune from prosecution because they lacked state brings the suit and must show guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, while in civil cases the plaintiff brings the suit and must only show the defendant is liable by a preponderance of the evidence.Clearly, both the adult criminal and juvenile justice systems have undergone vast changes over the last 100 years. However, one thing that has remained constant is the desire of courts, correctional professionals, and policymakers to reduce recidivism and enhance society safety. To achieve those goals and other important objectives, implementation of a variety of sentencing, corrections, and diversion practices resulted. Currently, officials are looking at new ways to deal with crime or are modifying existing practices to achieve their goals.

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