Juvenile Offenders in the Justice System

Adopted March 1987 – Reviewed and deemed relevant March 2012 – Community Concerns Commission

California State PTA supports a juvenile justice system which emphasizes rehabilitation of juveniles and holds offenders accountable and responsible for their actions. Juvenile court jurisdiction over youth up to age 18 should be retained in any efforts to reform the juvenile justice system.

Juvenile court judges should retain and exercise their discretionary power to refer to adult court those youthful offenders charged with violent crimes as defined in California State Welfare and Institutions Code, Section 707 (covers the fitness of juveniles to be referred to adult court).

California State PTA believes that parents may be held financially responsible for the actions of their children.

The juvenile justice system should provide for:

  • Legal protections and safeguards for all juveniles alleged to have committed an offense, ensuring that the rights of crime victims and all interested parties are recognized and enforced;
  • Equal treatment of all juveniles without regard to ethnicity or economic status;
  • Anonymity of all juveniles alleged to have committed an offense and who remain under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court;
  • Confidentiality of court proceedings and records with the stipulation that appropriate juvenile justice officials be required to disclose to law enforcement agencies and school districts the name of any juvenile criminal 14 years or older and who is convicted of a serious or violent crime;
  • A program of rehabilitation which includes education, career training, employability and counseling with a component on victim/offender reconciliation;
  • Involvement of victims in all aspects of the judicial and correctional system, including appearance at hearings, notification, allocation (right to speak) and restitution;
  • A restitution system for victims;
  • Alternatives to placement in correctional facilities;
  • Community-based education and treatment programs (except for the serious, habitual or violent offenders) to ensure successful re-entry into the community;
  • Confinement of juveniles committing offenses as described in section 602 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code when
    – Necessary to protect the offender or the person or property of another;
    – Necessary to ensure that the offender does not flee the jurisdiction of the court; or
    – The offender violates a specific condition of home release or parole; and
  • Separation of status offenders (juveniles described in section 601 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code), and juvenile offenders (juveniles described in section 602 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code) from adult inmates when confinement is necessary.
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