The focus in juvenile court has always been on rehabilitation. That’s one reason the practice of indeterminate sentencing in those courts has become controversial. This kind of sentence only ends when the judge is satisfied that the young person has changed. If not, the sentence can run out to the maximum. There are worries among some people that this is detrimental for juveniles in Louisiana.
How juvenile court works
Juvenile court is unlike adult court in many ways. For one thing, it’s not as formal. For another, the goal of everyone involved is to protect young people. All of juvenile court operates on much the same philosophy as diversion programs for adults. The goal is not to punish. Instead, it’s to redirect the person involved. That’s why juvenile records are sealed.
In fact, the goal of juvenile court is to set people up for success. Indeterminate sentencing seems to counter this philosophy. Instead of helping a young person learn to cope with increasing freedoms, it can hold them back with a longer than average sentence. Critics say that this can actually be detrimental to young offenders.
Consider the kind of sentences that juveniles can receive. In some cases, they may be held in a facility where there are frequent fights. This isn’t the most supportive environment for someone who really wants to change their life. It’s not the kind of place where people are likely to learn good tools that will help them in life.
If your child is facing juvenile court, it’s important to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney for them. Legal counsel may be able to advocate effectively and direct the focus towards rehabilitation, not punishment.