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What Age, If Any, Do You Gauge Is a "Good" Age to State a Juvenile Is Culpable for Their Actions, Particularly Delinquent/Criminal?

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Differences between the two systems include a more lenient, diversion oriented system in Bremen and a more severe, punishment oriented system in Denver

In Bremen, arrest, commonly a “ticket,” can not legally occur until age 14 and juvenile law can be and commonly is applied to those aged 18-20. In Denver, the age of responsibility is 10 and adult processing begins at age 18. Also, in Bremen, during ages 14-17, dismissal and diversion from court account for over 90% of cases referred to the prosecutor, often through a letter to the offender. In Denver, offenders may be ticketed or taken into custody. Arrested offenders are most often referred to juvenile court and receive intermediate level sanctions. Confinement is very rare in Bremen, but used in roughly 10-20% of Denver cases.

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A large number of individual factors and characteristics has been associated with the development of juvenile delinquency. These individual factors include age, gender, complications during pregnancy and delivery, impulsivity, aggressiveness, and substance use. Some factors operate before birth (prenatal) or close to, during, and shortly after birth (perinatal); some can be identified in early childhood; and other factors may not be evident until late childhood or during adolescence. To fully appreciate the development of these individual characteristics and their relations to delinquency, one needs to study the development of the individual in interaction with the environment. In order to simplify presentation of the research, however, this section deals only with individual factors. A difficulty with the literature on risk factors is the diversity of the outcome behaviors studied. Some studies focus on behavior that meets diagnostic criteria for conduct disorder or other antisocial behavior disorders; others look at aggressive behavior, or lying, or shoplifting; still others rely on juvenile court referral or arrest as the outcome of interest. Furthermore, different risk factors and different outcomes may be more salient at some stages of child and adolescent development than at others. Much of the literature that has examined risk factors for delinquency is based on longitudinal studies, primarily of white males. Some of the samples were specifically chosen from high-risk environments. Care must be taken in generalizing this literature to girls and minorities and to general populations. Nevertheless, over the past 20 years, much has been learned about risks for antisocial and delinquent behavior.The social behaviors that developmentalists study during childhood can be divided into two broad categories: prosocial and antisocial

Prosocial behaviors include helping, sharing, and cooperation, while antisocial behaviors include different forms of oppositional and aggressive behavior. The development of empathy, guilt feelings, social cognition, and moral reasoning are generally considered important emotional and cognitive correlates of social development.A teenager who becomes pregnant is also more likely than older mothers to be poor, to be on welfare, to have curtailed her education, and to deliver a baby with low birthweight. Separately or together, these correlates of teenage parenthood have been found to increase risk for delinquency.

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The goal was to break the cycle of youths’ offending before it reached the stage of repeat offending (McGarrell et al. 2000). A 2007 study by McGarrell and Hipple, however, showed overall mixed results in terms of recidivism rates of youth participants. The study authors also compared the outcomes of conferences coordinated by municipal police officers, compared with Indianapolis school police officers. The results showed a statistically significant decrease in the hazard rate for arrest by the municipal police officers (17 percent), when compared with the school police officers. This suggested that patrol officers may be more appropriate facilitators than school police officers; however, the study authors cautioned that there were various reasons why the outcomes from cases involving municipal police officers differed from the school police officers, and that it was not clear what accounted for the observed differences. A 2008 study by Hipple and McGarrell compared family group-conferencing sessions facilitated by police officers with those facilitated by civilians. The study found that conferences run by police wereprocedurally similar and resulted in similar recidivism rates as those run by civilians (although police facilitators were found to lecture youth participants more than civilian facilitators did). The findings suggest that police can serve as facilitators in a family group-conferencing diversion program, without interfering with the process and intent of the program. Results from a recent meta-analysis of restorative justice programs and practices showed police cautioning and other diversion programs had the largest positive effect on delinquency outcomes, compared with other restorative justice program types, suggesting that these programs might be effective for low-risk and first-time youth offenders (Wilson, Olaghere, and Kimbrell 2017).

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For the most part, juvenile court proceedings were closed to the public and juvenile records were to remain confidential so as not to interfere with the child's or adolescent's ability to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society

The very language used in juvenile court underscored these differences. Juveniles are not charged with crimes, but rather with delinquencies; they are not found guilty, but rather are adjudicated delinquent; they are not sent to prison, but to training school or reformatory.

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Wilson, David B., Iain Brennan, and Ajima Olaghere. 2017. “Police Initiated Diversion for Youth to Prevent Future Delinquent Behaviors: A Systematic Review.” Campbell Systematic Reviews.

McGarrell, Edmund F., Kathleen Olivares, Kay Crawford, and Natalie Kroovand Hipple. 2000. Returning Justice to the Community: The Indianapolis Juvenile Restorative Justice Experiment. Indianapolis, Ind.: Hudson Institute, Crime Control Policy Center.

Meyer, Jessica R., and N. Dickon Reppucci. 2007. “Police Practices and Perceptions Regarding Juvenile Interrogation and Interrogative Suggestibility.” Behavioral Sciences & the Law 25:757–80.

Lundman, Richard J., Richard E. Sykes, and John P. Clark. 1978. “Police Control of Juveniles: A Replication.” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 15(1):74–91.

Mastrofski, Stephen D. 2004. “Controlling Street-level Police Discretion.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 593(1):100–18.

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