Concept of Juvenile Justice

The term ‘Juvenile’ refers to any person, who has not attained the age of majority. Therefore, the criteria for determining a juvenile may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Pakistan sets the age of majority at eighteen years. A juvenile offender is an individual under the age of eighteen, who has come in contact with law for committing or being accused of committing, a delinquent or a criminal act These individuals are processed through the juvenile justice system. The juvenile justice system is premised on the belief that children are fundamentally different from adults in terms of dependency, responsibility, and potential for rehabilitation (SPARC “Juvenile Justice System”).

At the outset, the juvenile justice system is similar to the adult criminal justice system because it includes processes like arrest, detainment, petitions, hearings, adjudications, dispositions, placement, probation, and reentry. However, the fundamental difference lies in terms of level of responsibility and the potential for rehabilitation of juveniles. The juvenile justice system focuses on skill development, rehabilitation, addressing treatment needs, and successful reintegration of youth into the community. (SPARC “Juvenile Justice System”)

It is important to understand that justice systems designed for adults often lack the capacity to adequately address the protection of the rights of juvenile offenders and are more likely to harm than improve a juvenile offender’s chances for reintegration into society.



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