Last time, we continued our discussion of the juvenile justice system, focusing on the basic goal of the system: rehabilitation. The juvenile justice system makes use of a variety of tools to help young people get back on the right track. When a young offender is accused of activity that is not criminal in nature, the juvenile justice system typically offers rehabilitation via participation in various services and diversion programs.
With this avenue, a young person may be referred to the Department of Juvenile Service for appropriate treatment or counseling. A young person who was involved with alcohol, for example, may be referred to an alcohol treatment program and other services aimed at helping him or her address the circumstances that led to the behavior.
Another possibility is that a young offender could be diverted to a program by the police department or be referred for supervision by the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services. This route could involve probation with conditions appropriate to the offense. For instance, a young person accused of theft may be required to go through supervised participation in a restorative justice or community service program.
A young person who is accused of a more serious offense—an offense that would be considered a crime for an adult—or who has a more involved criminal history may have to face delinquency proceedings. Young people who find themselves in this position can really benefit from the guidance of an experienced legal advocate who can guide them through the process and advocate for their interests.
In our next post, we’ll look at the general outlines of delinquency proceedings and how experienced legal counsel can be of assistance in such situations.