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In New Jersey, what are sanctions based on?


The juvenile court sanctions are based on the youth's condition.  The juvenile court has broad discretion to fashion a sentence (called a disposition) after examining an array of factors about the child.  The court will look at the juvenile's attitude, standing in the community, school performance, mental health, family stability, and support. 

The rehabilitative model in New Jersey has produced an array of vocabulary terms.  A juvenile defender is an alleged "delinquent" who committed an "act of delinquency," not an accused criminal who had committed a crime.  A juvenile might be "held in detention" but was not jailed.  If found guilty by a judge, the juvenile is adjudicated, delinquent, not convicted of a crime.

To enhance prospects for rehabilitation, juvenile court proceedings are closed to the public except in certain circumstances.  Records and dispositions from juvenile court, for the most part, are sealed to protect the juvenile's privacy.  However, there are delinquent acts that are reportable and will show up a adult criminal rap sheet.

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