No matter how tough you are on the streets, being arrested is scary, especially for juvenile offenders who have a lot to lose. Youth who are found guilty of criminal offenses risk losing future careers, educational opportunities and personal connections —all of which can be jeopardized with the existence of a criminal record or time spent behind bars. For this reason, it’s critical for young teens who have been charged with criminal activity to do everything they can to fight their charges and eliminate the future complications as much as possible.
According to a recent report from the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ), juvenile crime has increased by 20 percent over the last 50 years. One year’s report on juvenile crime includes over 1,236,000 cases and more than 300,000 of those cases involved a crime against another person. In New Jersey alone, statistics from 2015 show that there are currently over 680 teens in the juvenile criminal system.
Detention Centers and Jails are Risky for Teen Offenders
Minors who have been convicted of criminal activity in juvenile court typically go to a juvenile detention center to serve their time. However, juvenile detention centers are notorious for mistreatment and abuse across the country, and reports indicate that 1 in 10 juvenile offenders are sexually abused while in detention centers.
New Jersey’s juvenile detention facilities have been under fire for poor conditions and living quality for young inmates since 2000. In one reported case, young offenders were kept in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day, and many detention centers have had dangerous riots that put guards and inmates at risk for injury or death.
Juvenile detention homes are not the best option in most cases and only a few of them actually promote rehabilitation and change in troubled juvenile delinquents. Young teens who commit crimes have an opportunity to grow and learn from their mistakes while making up for them at the same time, but this doesn’t have to be done behind bars.
Treatment programs for drug users, community service plans and probationary periods are all viable options for penalizing a young person who has committed a crime without condemning him or her to spending their formative years in a jail cell or detention center.
Many of New Jersey’s cities have begun to enforce curfews in an attempt to control young criminal behavior. These curfews are specific to minors, so anyone underage who is caught on the streets after curfew can be taken into custody and can only be released into the care of a guardian or family member. Anyone who is consistently in violation of curfew rules may be subject to fines.
Get an Attorney Involved
If your child has been charged with criminal activity, you need the help of the New Jersey juvenile defense attorneys at Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA. Your child shouldn’t spend his formative years in jail, so reach out to our team for a consultation about your case today.