By Stephen Sebald:

The juvenile justice system is much different from the adult system. The principles that this institution relies upon seek to promote reform as well as provide an opportunity for offenders to learn from their mistakes. The state has implemented goals in order promote the philosophy of balance and restoration, community protection, accountability, and competency development.

Community protection revolves around providing safety to society as well as the child while maintaining balance and restoration. This goal is community driven, focusing on the giving the child a chance to learn from his or her mistake but also while keeping the neighborhood as a whole in mind; protecting their right to safety and security.

Accountability holds the child responsible for the harm he or she caused and directs him or her into repairing that damage while also restoring the relationship with the community as well as the victim of the offense. This goal seeks to hold the child accountable so they can understand the seriousness of their action and provide relief for the harm such actions have caused.

Competency Development describes the expectation that when a child leaves the juvenile justice system, he or she is capable of living a much more responsible life and can function productively throughout the community. This goal looks forward, hoping that after restoration, the child understands the consequences of their action and can become productive citizens within the community.

In determining the correct way to handle the child’s offense, a few factors come into play. These aspects focus on the needs of the child, the nature of the offense, whether injury or damage was done, whether it was a first offense, and whether there is a continued risk. Each child’s experience is unique and as a result, the solutions can significantly vary.

If your child has been arrested, you might still be in shock, completely surprised that you would ever have to hear those words directed to you. A child can be arrested for a suspected offense or for an outstanding warrant for arrest. The police have the discretion in determining whether they will release the child or take them to the police station or processing center. If taken to the station or a processing center, your child may be fingerprinted, photographed, and his or her information may be entered into the police computer system.

As soon as you receive that call that your child has been arrested, contact legal help from someone experienced with the juvenile justice process. The attorneys at Sebald, Hackwelder, & Knox are here to help. Call today at (814) 833-1987.