Juvenile crime is a serious issue in Florida, with thousands of minors being arrested each year. As we’ve noted in previous blogs, juvenile offenders are treated differently than adult offenders in the criminal justice system. In this post, we will recap the current state of juvenile crime in Florida along with the differences between juvenile and adult charges.
Juvenile Crime VS Adult Crime
In Florida, individuals under the age of 18 are generally tried in juvenile court. Juvenile court proceedings are closed to the public and the records are sealed to protect the privacy of the minor. The focus in juvenile court is on rehabilitation rather than punishment. Depending on the charge, minors are typically sent to juvenile detention centers or programs that focus on education and therapy.
Adult criminal court proceedings are public and the records are not sealed. Adults convicted of a crime may be sent to jail or prison and are subject to harsher penalties.
Juvenile Crime Statistics & Programs
According to a report by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, in 2020, there were over 50,000 arrests of minors in Florida. The most common offenses included theft, vandalism, and drug possession. However, the number of arrests has been decreasing in recent years due to a shift in the state’s approach to juvenile crime.
Florida has implemented several programs and initiatives aimed at reducing juvenile crime and recidivism. One example is the Civil Citation program, which allows first-time, non-violent juvenile offenders to avoid arrest. Instead, the offender must complete community service, pay restitution, and attend educational classes. This program has been shown to be effective in reducing recidivism and is now used in over half of Florida’s counties.
Another initiative is the Redirection program, which provides intensive supervision and services to high-risk, high-needs youth in order to reduce their likelihood of reoffending. The program has been successful in reducing recidivism and has been implemented in several counties across the state.
In addition to these state-funded programs, there are also several non-profit organizations and community-based programs that provide support and services to juvenile offenders. These programs focus on education, job training, and mentoring to help youth successfully reintegrate into their communities.
Juvenile Crime Lawyers in Florida
Juvenile crime is a serious issue, not only in Florida but across the country. It requires a comprehensive approach that includes both rehabilitation and prevention. Florida has taken action by implementing several programs and initiatives aimed at reducing juvenile crime and recidivism. Not to mention, non-profit organizations and community-based programs also play an important role in providing support and services to juvenile offenders. It is important to continue to invest in these programs to ensure that young people have the opportunity to turn their lives around and become productive members of society.
If you, or someone you know, has been charged with a juvenile crime, contact our team of experts. We can provide guidance on how to handle your case. Or, if you have questions on juvenile crime we’re available 24/7 by calling 904-355-6777. We’re here to help!
- “2020 Annual Report” Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, https://www.djj.state.fl.us/content/download/22372/file/2020-djj-oig-annual-report.pdf
- “Florida’s Civil Citation Program: An Evidence-Based Alternative to Arrest” Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, https://oppaga.fl.gov/ProgramSummary/ProgramDetailPrint?programNumber=1009