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Juvenile Delinquency Guidelines: Improving Court Practice in Juvenile Delinquency Cases

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2005
308 pages
This handbook presents basic guidelines for effective court practice in juvenile delinquency cases.
Many challenges stress the juvenile justice system as it struggles to strike a balance between meeting the needs of juvenile offenders and community safety. Challenges include increased mental illness and substance use problems among juvenile offenders, as well as high detention rates and disproportionate minority representation throughout the system. The guidelines presented here identify recommended practices throughout the court system, beginning with the determination of whether the case should enter the formal juvenile system through to the post-disposition review of the reentry process for youths exiting detention facilities. The guidelines are offered in the hope of improving the Nation’s juvenile delinquency systems as well as the outcomes for youths, families, victims, and communities. The introduction presents the scope, structure, and use of the juvenile delinquency guidelines while chapter 1 presents the key principles of a juvenile delinquency court of excellence. Chapter 2 deals with general issues relating to the juvenile delinquency court process, chapter 3 presents best practices for initiating the juvenile delinquency court process, and chapter 4 discusses aspects of conducting the initial or detention hearing, such as information the court should have and what to do if the allegations are denied. Chapter 5 presents recommendations on filing motions to waive jurisdiction and transfer to criminal court while chapter 6 offers best practices for the trial or adjudication hearing. Chapter 7 discusses the disposition hearing and chapter 8 outlines the appeals process. Chapter 9 discusses aspects of the in-home post-disposition review while chapter 10 presents recommendations for the out-of-home post-disposition review. Chapter 11 explores best practices when probation and parole requirements have been violated and chapter 12 presents specific recommendations on how to become a juvenile delinquency court of excellence. Glossary, appendixes

Date Published: July 1, 2005