Youth Justice System
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The youth justice system keeps minors separate from adult criminals. This approach to criminal justice has several advantages: it allows minors to learn from their mistakes instead of being labeled as hardened criminals; it keeps young criminals away from the general criminal population so that young people do not learn antisocial habits from adults; and it acknowledges that young people often act rashly because their brains have not fully developed. This approach to juvenile justice did not exist formally in the United States until 1899, when the first juvenile court was opened in Chicago, IL.
Although youth justice systems vary from state to state, most of them offer a range of services aimed at helping minors develop skills so they can afford future conflict with the law. Many juvenile detention centers, for instance, have classes that prepare inmates for the GED exam. Some also offer classes that allow inmates to earn college credits during their incarcerations.
Inmates might also have the opportunity to develop job skills by working at the facility. The Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility even has a program that gives inmates the chance to train abandoned dogs. This helps instill a sense of responsibility in the inmates so that they can apply what they have learned to building successful lives once they are released into society.