Question 1. What is “competency” in the context of juve...

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Question 1. What is “competency” in the context of juvenile court processing? How might reduced “competency” among youth affect court decisions (e.g., arrest, adjudication, disposition)?

Question 2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the informal nature of police and court processing described in McGarrell (2012), Mears (2012), and Butts et al. (2012)?

Question 3. How do Greenwood and Turner (2012) and Mears et al. (2011) differ in their assessment of the effectiveness of juvenile court sanctions, and what implications does each assessment have for the types of sanctioning policies that states might want to consider?

Question 4. Drawing on Mears et al. (2011), Greenwood and Turner (2012), Bazemore (2012), Krisberg (2012), and MacKenzie and Freeland (2012), what does research suggest are hallmarks of effective sanctions and interventions for reducing delinquency and improving youth outcomes.

Question 5. Drawing on the course readings and class readings, and thinking about international differences in approaches to delinquency, what do you think can be done to most significantly improve juvenile justice in America?

Feld, Barry C., and Donna M. Bishop, eds. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Juvenile Crime and Juvenile Justice. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780199338276.

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Criminal Justice Questions
Question 1. What is “competency” in the context of juvenile court processing? How might reduce “competency” among youth affect court decisions (e.g., arrest, adjudication, and disposition)?

Competency is the mental or cognitive ability to stand trial often used in the context of juvenile court processing. It is used to ensure that an individual has the mental capacity to understand and partake in legal proceedings (Feld & Bishop, 2011). Since the establishment of the Juvenile Court system in the 1800s, courts have presumed that juveniles are competent or have cognitive abilities that allow them to participate in proceedings. In the context of processing children, children were always viewed as underdeveloped, thus were not allowed the due process. Historically, the juvenile system only sought to rehabilitate including numerous legal protection against severe or harsh sentences. Therefore, competency focuses on the capability of the juvenile to stand trial. It includes the ability of the juvenile to understand due process including the right to an attorney and the capacity to recognize their decisions.

Competency often seeks to establish that one has a sound and capable mind to understand the legal process. Individuals with developmental or mental disorders are often considered incompetent to participate in legal processes. The same case applies to juveniles as they have to be checked whether they comprehend what the process entails as well can participate in the process. Certain cognitive abilities are required for one to stand trial. For instance, the ability to remember, reason, and understand is critical in qualifying a juvenile to stand trial. According to Feld & Bishop (2011), mental illness or immaturity may make a juvenile less capable of assisting their defense. They may also be unable to make an important decision during the process.

Competency is based on cognitive capabilities that are different between juveniles and adults. Therefore, juveniles are often treated differently in legal and social contexts. Their ability to stand trial also influences different court decisions. Some youths may be sentenced as adults while others may be sentenced as juveniles despite having the same age and similar crimes....

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