|The juvenile justice system differs from the criminal justice system, but there is common ground|
The juvenile justice system
grew out of the criminal
After working within the criminal justice system, designers of the juvenile justice system retained many of the components of the criminal justice system as they constructed a new process to respond to delinquent youth. An understanding of what was retained and what was changed helps to make clear the basic differences between the two systems as they exist today.
During its nearly 100-year history, the juvenile justice system in the U.S. has seen fundamental changes in certain aspects of process and philosophy. Recently, there has been some discussion about the possibility of essentially merging the juvenile and criminal systems. An understanding of similarities and differences between the two systems is valuable in assessing the implications of the proposed changes.