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In this chapter, we discussed the history of the juvenile court. As was discussed, Illinois was the first state to create a separate court system for juveniles in 1899. Today, all states have separate juvenile or family courts that handle cases involving children. These courts rely upon the federal juvenile court act and state-mandated juvenile court acts in order to incorporate the doctrines of parens patriae, in loco parentis, and the best interests of the child into the rehabilitation and treatment of juveniles. In order to better understand how juvenile courts incorporate these philosophies into the treatment and rehabilitation of children, we encourage you to visit the website of the Illinois Compiled Statutes at http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs.asp. Or, better yet, you can use the Internet to locate and review the statutes governing the juvenile justice network in your own state.
- At the menu, click on Chapter 705 Courts. From the Courts menu, click on Juvenile Courts, 705 ILCS 405/Juvenile Court Act of 1987.
- At the menu, click on and read Article I “General Provisions” of the Illinois Juvenile Court Act. Using Appendix A in the text and Article I, Sec. 1–2 “Purpose and Policy” of the Illinois Juvenile Court Act, compare the federal purpose of juvenile court to the purpose explained by the state of Illinois. What differences do you see? Do the state of Illinois and the federal government agree on the purpose of the juvenile court? Are the doctrines of parens patriae and in loco parentis apparent within both the state and federal juvenile court acts?
- Using the Illinois Juvenile Court Act, find the section that discusses legal representation for juveniles accused of criminal offenses. Does this section adequately address the issues raised in Gault? If so, how does the Illinois Juvenile Court Act meet the requirements set forth in the Gault decision? If not, what is missing from the Illinois Juvenile Court Act that is necessary to meet the requirements of the Gault decision?
- Using the menu of the Illinois Juvenile Court Act, click on Article 5, Part 7, “Proceedings after Trial, Sentencing.” Read through the sentences available to the Illinois juvenile court. Are these sentences different than those discussed throughout the history of juvenile court in Chapter 1? If so, how are the sentences different? Explain how the sentences provide for, or do not provide for, the best interests of the child.
In this chapter, we discussed the history of the juvenile court. As was discussed, Illinois was the first state to create a separate court system for juveniles in 1899. In order to better understand the historical development of juvenile justice, we encourage you to visit the following OJJDP website: http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/nr2006/downloads/NR2006.pdf.
- At the menu, click on Chapter 4, juvenile justice system structure and process.
- Explain the trends that have developed in the juvenile justice system process since the 1980s. Why has the system developed the way it has?
- Explain what the different juvenile court purpose clauses are and how the emphases vary. Which does your state fall under?
- Which case discussed in this reading do you feel has been the most important in providing juveniles with rights? Explain your reasoning.