There is defiantly a distinct difference between the Criminal Justice System and the Juvenile Justice system. The legal process between the two are quite different. Adults and juveniles cannot be treated the same. Children’s brains are not fully developed, they are impressionable and lack the ability to make good sound decisions.
If an individual is an adolescent, under the age of 18 in most states, will go through the Juvenile Justice system. On the other hand, an adult over the age of 18 would be processed through the criminal Justice systems. The punishment for the same crime is different in comparing Criminal Justice to juvenile justice. For example, juveniles are taken into custody whereas adults are arrested.
Juveniles don’t have a trial as adults but have a hearing in juvenile court by a judge. The juvenile justice system wants to rehabilitate children as oppose to punishing them. Juveniles are adjudicated and given a disposition hearing unlike adults, are found guilty and given a sentence. It is believed, and the focus is juveniles can be rehabilitated and reformed before reaching adulthood.
The juvenile judge is more interested in preventing further delinquent behavior and programs are in place to do just that.