In El Paso and throughout Texas, juvenile centers are used as short-term arrangements. They provide multiple services, including crisis intervention, custodial care, counseling and education. According to state law, children in detention have hearings at set intervals so that a judge can determine whether it is advisable to continue to hold them.
In the state of Texas, a juvenile is defined as someone who has reached the age of 10 but was not yet 17 at the time they committed an act of "delinquent conduct". Penalties for allegations of a juvenile crime can vary widely depending on the seriousness of the offense. Also, according to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, there are many differences between penalties imposed on juveniles as opposed to adults who may have committed similar crimes. While the adult penal system focuses primarily on public safety and punishment for a crime, the Juvenile Justice Department also places an emphasis on rehabilitation.
The juvenile law system is in place to protect all those affected by crimes committed by a minor. In the eyes of the law, there is no age limit when it comes to committing a crime. Crimes such as shoplifting, vandalism, minor consumption of alcohol, underage drinking and driving, illegal substance abuse or even more serious crimes such as assault, murder and date rape are all crimes that can fall under the jurisdiction of juvenile law.
In our last post, we began speaking a bit about the case of Ethan Couch, who has been called the “affluenza teen” in connection with arguments made in court in 2013 during his drunken driving case. As we noted, Couch is currently being transferred to the adult court system, which could actually a have a beneficial impact on his case.
A Texas teen who was sentenced to 10 years of probation in the juvenile system for a drunken driving crash in 2013 which killed four people is in bigger trouble now after he was accused of violating of his probation from that case. The young man, Ethan Couch, was reportedly deported from Mexico in late January and booked into the Texas jail system in Tarrant County earlier this month. Couch and his mother are believed to have fled to Mexico after a video came to light back in December which appeared to show Couch participating in a drinking party.
The juvenile justice system is very different in nature than the criminal justice system, as anybody who works in the field can tell you. The primary approach in the criminal justice system is to punish offenders so as to deter criminal activity and to protect society from those who are dangerous or threatening.
In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that juvenile offenders cannot constitutionally be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. That ruling, which applies even to juvenile murder cases, was significant in that it set a clear limitation on judges handling sentencing for troubled youth.