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A juvenile, also referred to as a minor, refers to individuals who have not reached a certain age as set by the different states. It could vary from 16 to 17 years.  Juveniles are mostly treated differently when they commit crimes although this cannot be guaranteed incase they commit very grievous crimes, in which case they could be tried as adults.

The most fundamental difference between the adult justice system and the juvenile one is that of its general focus or aim. While the adult justice system is aimed at punishment for wrongdoing, the juvenile system is more concerned in treatment and rehabilitation. In addition, the juvenile system has the backing of many non-law agencies such as schools and social services a feature which the adults do note enjoy.

Another difference is that of how they are arrested, in which case, police only need probable cause tat an offense was committed for them to take a juvenile into custody. This is unlike for the case of adults where they have to witness the actual crime being committed for them to make any arrests. They also have to be detained in safe and secluded facilities away from other male offenders. This is because unlike the adult offenders, juveniles belong to the civil portion of the penal code also referred to as the family code.

Bail is also not allowed for juvenile offenders, they only need to satisfy the judge tat that they are not a flight risk as well as not a danger to the society. In fact this determination is referred to as a detention hearing and not a bail hearing.

During the hearings, the juvenile should also be asked questions according to his/her level of maturity so as to avoid influencing them to say what the interviewer wants them to. They are therefore encouraged to use open-ended questions while letting them answer independently.

Another major difference is that a juvenile offender would not get a jury to decide what their sentence would be but rather, the judge alone would be able to determine whether one ha s broken the law or not. In fact in the end the judge would give adjudication while in adults we have a verdict.

The general public is usually closed to the general public in case of a juvenile hearing including the media. This is to shield the juvenile from al the attention they might receive which may affect them socially. The juvenile can then be judged as delinquent or involved rather than guilty as in the adults’ cases.

Incase parole is awarded to a juvenile it should also be noted that it would be combined with surveillance with activities to reintegrate the juvenile into the community.  In the case of an adult, surveillance is mostly to check for any illicit activities.

It is ironical however to note that in general  there are worse consequences for juveniles in minor offenses as they get longer time in counseling as well as probation. However on serious cases, the law somewhat shields them and get let harsh punishments than their adult counterparts and most of their sentences end in their early twenties unlike the adults who may get life imprisonment.

Therefore in the case of Jan (16yrs) and Kim(24yrs), they will have very different  court processes and even outcomes as per  the stages mentioned before. It is likely that Kim will get a more harsh punishment than Jan as the law tends to protect minors more. The main reason for this huge difference is because a minor can be regarded s having a relatively lower judgment ability of what is right or wrong.

Pundits have argued in favor of this as long as the crime is not as grievous as in rape or murder where the juvenile deserves the same treatment as an adult by the law.

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