When a juvenile is accused of a crime, the situation revolving around these accusations will often impact the child’s life greatly. A juvenile crime could lead to penalties such as juvenile detention, which could affect the juvenile’s personal life. Moreover, this could crossover into their adult life. While a juvenile detention center might be considered the best rehabilitative method by the state, there are detention alternatives that should be considered.
In 2004, the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative was instituted in New Jersey and was developed in response to the national trends that indicated a drastic increase in the use of secure detention for juveniles. This increase existed despite the decrease in juvenile arrests. Because of the increased rate, there was an overcrowding issue at youth detention facilities nationwide.
The goal of this initiative was to create a more effective and efficient process surrounding the usage of juvenile detentions, with a primary goal to ensure that secure detentions are used for the serious and chronic youth offenders. In addition, alternatives to detention were implemented in order to help meet these goals. Whether it is probation, community service or house arrest, these alternatives not only address the overcrowding issue but also help promote the safety and rehabilitation of juvenile offenders.
Whether a juvenile defendant seeks to defend their charges or seeks a detention alternative after being convicted of a crime, it is important that the offender and their loved ones understand their legal rights and options. This could help them protect their rights, avoid penalties and reduce the consequences they could endure.