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Juvenile drug courts provide (1) intensive and continuous judicial supervision over delinquency and status offense cases that involve substance-abusing juveniles and (2) coordinated and supervised delivery of an array of support services necessary to address the problems that contribute to juvenile involvement in the justice system. Service areas include substance abuse treatment, mental health, primary care, family, and education. Since 1995, more than 140 juvenile drug courts have been established in the United States, and more than 125 are currently being planned.
This bulletin addresses JAIBG program purpose area 9-the establishment of juvenile drug court programs to provide continuing judicial supervision of juvenile offenders with substance abuse problems and to integrate the administration of other sanctions and services. The purpose of this bulletin is twofold: (1) to share with local officials the experience and perspective of juvenile justice policy-makers and practitioners who have been involved with juvenile drug court programs during the past several years and (2) to facilitate the development of constructive, well-conceived programs that improve the juvenile justice system's ability to hold youthful offenders accountable for their behavior while enhancing public safety and strengthening existing State and local programs.
The first step in planning and implementing a juvenile drug court is to identify the nature and extent of problems that the program must address, goals that the program must achieve, and indicators that will reveal the degree to which these goals are met. In most instances, this process is initiated by a juvenile court judge, who is frequently joined by representatives from the prosecutor's office, public defender's office, and juvenile intake and probation staff. If a review of caseload and case disposition characteristics suggests that a juvenile drug court would be useful, this initial planning group should invite representatives from social service agencies, treatment agencies, and other youth service agencies.
Members of this group or their designees can then form the nucleus of the juvenile drug court planning team, which will determine the goals of the program collaboratively. While reducing recidivism and substance abuse are common goals for adult drug courts, juvenile drug courts must go beyond this definition of success to address factors that promote the youth's successful functioning as an adult. Many programs, therefore, include indicators such as educational development, competency/skills building, and improved family relationships.
The nature of juvenile drug court participants' substance use and other problems is complex, requiring the provision of an array of family services, specialized treatment, and other core adolescent services. Programs frequently report not only considerable substance use by youth but significant percentages of participants with mental health problems (particularly depression, fetal alcohol syndrome or effects, and learning disabilities) and physical problems. In many instances, the nature and extent of these problems do not become apparent until a juvenile has been involved in the program for some time. Ongoing and updated assessments are therefore critical.
1. The 3 basic reasons juveniles are waiver to adult court are:
To remove juvenile offenders charged with heinous, violent offenses that frequently generate media and community pressure.
To remove chronic offenders who have exhausted the resources and the patience of the juvenile justice system.
To impose longer potential sentences than are available within the juvenile justice system.
2. All the rights granted to juveniles by Kent v. United States:
Right to a hearing where evidence can be presented as to why the juvenile should not be waived to adult court.
Right to counsel at waiver hearings.
Right to access any reports and records used by the court in deciding waiver.
Right to a statement issued by the judge justifying waiver to adult court.
3. The Kent criteria are:
The seriousness of the alleged offense to the community and whether the protection of the community requires waiver.
Whether the alleged offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, premeditated or willful manner.
Whether the alleged offense was against persons or against property, greater weight being given to offenses against persons, especially if personal injury resulted.
The prosecutive merit of the complaint.
Whether the juvenile's associates in the offense were adults.
The sophistication and maturity of the juvenile.
The record and previous history of the juvenile.
The prospects for adequate protection of the public and the likelihood of reasonable rehabilitation of the juvenile by the use of procedures, services, and facilities currently available to the juvenile court.
4. Discretionary judicial waiver-is frequently used. Usually a prosecutor files a petition with a juvenile court requesting that the juvenile court waive its original jurisdiction over the juvenile offender and sends the juvenile to adult court.
Mandatory judicial waiver-under mandatory judicial waiver, a juvenile court judge, at the waiver hearing, looks for only probable cause that a juvenile offender committed a serious offense. Probable cause is the level of proof required to justify an arrest. It means that the police have enough evidence to believe that the individual arrested committed the offense. If a judge finds that probable cause exists, then the judge must waive the juvenile to adult court. Mandatory judicial waiver is different from discretionary judicial waiver because under mandatory judicial waiver a judge looks only at probable cause, not at the Kent criteria, in making the waiver decision.
Presumptive waiver is the third type of judicial waiver. Typically, a prosecutor who is seeking the waiver of a juvenile to adult court must prove to the judge that the juvenile should be waived. In other words, the prosecutor typically bears the burden of proof in a discretionary waiver proceeding, but under presumptive waiver the burden shifts to the defense. In such cases, if a juvenile meeting the criteria for the presumption fails to make an adequate showing against transfer, the juvenile court judge must waive the juvenile to adult court. Under presumptive waiver, the defense bears the burden of proof and must justify to the judge why the juvenile should not be waived.
5. The five types of blended sentencing are: