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Make Sure You Know About Juvenile Record

Juvenile Record

To even discuss whether or not juvenile records are a good or bad thing, it is necessary to understand what one actually contains. As noted, a juvenile record involves a summary of a minor's legal history, including petitions made to bring him or her to juvenile court based on allegations of juvenile offenses, as well as any motions, appeals, findings, and results of juvenile court hearings. In addition, though, a juvenile record features a social history of a delinquent child, including notes on his or her family (when applicable), educational performance, exposure to/abuse of illegal drugs, neglect, and abuse.

Seeing as a sizable amount of the above information may be considered of a sensitive nature, it is understandable that young people involved in detention centers and courts might wish to see their juvenile offenses and other details hidden from public view. Thankfully for their sake, juvenile records are sealed upon children's entry into adulthood to facilitate their desire to make a clean break. This is indicative of the prevailing attitudes toward privacy in juvenile law; after all, juvenile court sessions are usually held in privacy.

The idea that a juvenile record may be barred from public access is controversial, and some states have even legislated against such policy. The reasons are numerous, but one criticism of closed records is that juveniles are not being held accountable for their juvenile offenses, especially those that are more serious. Especially for potential victims of misdeeds, this provides little solace that justice is being done.

Moreover, professionals invested in a child's welfare may be able to use the details of a juvenile record for good. For example, social workers and family caseworkers may benefit in having a detailed legal and social record at hand for the sake of recommending their placement in a permanent home with an adoptive family or under Government auspices as a resident of a State-run facility.

NEXT: Make Sure You Know The Implications of Certain Severe Offenses

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