Court proceedings for juveniles are more informal than those for adults. Juveniles can be charged for status offenses which include running away, missing curfew or skipping school. However, research suggests that incarcerating young people for small infractions increases the chance that they’ll get into more serious crimes as they age.
Many advocates believe that flexibility in the system means children will have greater opportunities to reform. Judge Darlene Byrne, a district court judge in Travis County, Texas and a member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) says she feels lucky that her jurisdiction offers ankle monitors to kids so she can track but not detain vulnerable children.
Learn more about the difference in how girls are treated in the juvenile justice system here.