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What are the Different Juvenile Justice Careers?

By Nat Robinson
Updated Feb 04, 2024
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There are many different types of juvenile justice careers. An individual wishing to pursue a career in this field will typically have an overall interest in working in the justice system. Additionally, there may be a particular desire to work primarily with juveniles facing charges for criminal offenses. Some common juvenile justice careers include a judge, juvenile court attorney, juvenile probation officer, and a counselor.

A career in juvenile justice will include working closely with troubled youths in a variety of different settings. The juvenile justice system was established as a means to discipline underage individuals who commit crimes, but are not old enough to be tried as adults; a juvenile crime is punishable under a different set of laws. The age criteria for distinguishing an individual as a juvenile varies by region. Individuals wishing to pursue a juvenile justice career will need to be well versed in juvenile criminal law.

Judges hold one of the highest careers in the juvenile justice system. This career choice includes presiding over criminal juvenile cases and deciding on the best course of punishment for such crimes. A juvenile judge may have a special interest in rehabilitating minors. In order to become a judge, a college degree and some type of graduate degree, including a degree in law, will typically be required.

After being charged with a crime, an attorney may be one of the first people a troubled juvenile may contact for help. An attorney may represent a juvenile and speak on his or her behalf when going before a judge in a court of law. At least a bachelor's degree will be required to become an attorney, and often graduate degrees are also part of the course of study. In addition to being a lawyer, law clerks and paralegals may be possible juvenile justice careers.

Freedom, within limitations, may be granted to a youth guilty of committing a crime by being placed on probation. These restrictions will be monitored by a juvenile probation officer. These probation officers will supervise and monitor activities of a juvenile and the youth, in return, will have to report to the probation officer at specific times. An associate degree, certification, and an amount of experience in criminology, juvenile justice, and correctional administration may be required to become a probation officer.

Juvenile justice careers can also include counselors. A counselor may be assigned to a juvenile in trouble with the law to learn more about all aspects of the individual's life, as well as his or her overall emotional and mental health. Typically, an individual in this career will have bachelor's or master degree. Many counselors are licensed and may work along side a probation officer to oversee the well-being of a juvenile on probation.

The work environment for careers in juvenile justice can vary. Some careers, such as a judge or juvenile court attorney, may involve work primarily in a court room. Other career choices, such as a counselor, may mean working in an environment such as a detention center. Some degree of secondary education is typically be required for many juvenile justice careers. Educational and work experience requirements should be researched in advance when pursing a career in juvenile justice.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Kliff03 — On Jul 11, 2011

Can you please add more information based on Juvenile Justice Counseling? Also, is it possible for you to add a video about "What it's like to be a Juvenile Justice Counselor on this website?"

By cupcake15 — On Aug 21, 2010

Oasis11- That sounds like a challenging criminal justice career. Criminology careers that involve analyzing crime scenes and overall detective work is fascinating.

Solving a crime is like a big puzzle and the people that seek criminal justice degree careers often thrive on the challenge and the danger that such a career poses.

They also have a huge sense of justice and want to make things right for the victim.

A list of typical criminal justice careers includes criminal defense attorneys, prosecutors, police officers, medical examiners, parole officers, corrections officers, FBI agents to name a few.

Some go on to specialize in criminology and perform research on criminal behavior and crime statistics.

By oasis11 — On Aug 21, 2010

Comfyshoes- Let me answer that for you. The judge normally hears feedback from the Department of Juvenile Justice and can either set the juvenile free, offer probation, or juvenile incarceration for either a fixed timeframe or an indefinite amount of time.

Sentences of a few months to up to almost five years are common. Upon the release of the juvenile, there is a hearing with the juvenile parole board that offers conditional or unconditional release.

Conditional release requires supervised meetings with a probation officer, which is a common uvenile justice job. The probation officer in this case would have systematic visits with the juvenile for a specified period of time.

By comfyshoes — On Aug 21, 2010

Greenweaver-What options does the juvenile at this point?

By GreenWeaver — On Aug 21, 2010

The juvenile criminal justice process involves several steps. First a juvenile has to be referred to the Department of juvenile Justice by prosecuting party.

The juvenile is then interviewed by the Department of Justice about the case at hand. The Department of Justice then makes recommendations to the prosecuting party regarding the juvenile's case.

The prosecuting party can then divert the case by offering counseling drug treatment, arbitration or require the juveniles to pay back damages in the form of restitution.

The prosecuting party can decide to prosecute and then the case goes to family court. Family court judges and probation officers are common department of juvenile justice careers.

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