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Work to prevent your child being tried as an adult

Many days, youths face charges with crimes such as vandalism, underage drinking and stalking. The crimes can get even more serious, with charges such as kidnapping and intentional homicide.

One thing for parents to remember is that the system for juvenile justice focuses much more on rehabilitation than it does on punishment. Thus, it is likely in their best interest and in the child’s best interest to ensure that a charge stays in the juvenile system. This way, your child may able to get any emotional help he or she needs and avoid a serious conviction record.

A private attorney can help

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to prevent your child being charged as an adult is to retain a private attorney. If you have chosen to use a public defender, encourage your child to work closely with this person so that he or she can set out mitigating factors and make a case for the power of rehabilitation. Many public defenders are effective at what they do, but there is no denying that they can have heavy caseloads. A private attorney might have more time and resources to devote to your case.

Making the argument against recidivism

One reason it is so important that juveniles actually be tried as juveniles is that otherwise, they are more likely to reoffend. People who go through the adult justice system are more liable to commit crimes again. In fact, it seems that juveniles do so at a rate higher than adults do.

An American Bar Association article explains that in a study, adult offenders ended up with charges again 66 percent of the time. Meanwhile, juveniles who went through adult state prisons ended up arrested again at a rate of 82 percent. In juvenile systems, offenders get the opportunity to develop skills and education rather than be exposed to the harsh “education” that adult offenders can bring in prison.

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