A juvenile delinquent is treated differently than the usual criminal offender. Because the criminal is a minor, he or she is not punished in the same manner an adult criminal is due to his or her emotional and mental development. A minor guilty of juvenile delinquency is usually placed in a juvenile detention center rather than an actual prison. This is because the state wishes to prevent criminals from influencing juvenile offenders negatively and to protect the welfare of such young offenders from an unsecure environment. However, there is also an intervention available to juvenile offenders who suffer from some form of mental illness. This type of intervention is referred to as juvenile treatment.
Juvenile treatment exists because of the idea that a juvenile can be rehabilitated if the appropriate intervention is given. Because of the status of juveniles as minors or underaged, the court system would rather provide juvenile delinquents a second chance to rejoin society by providing them with some form of treatment.
Upon the arrest of a juvenile offender, a social worker evaluates his or her case in order to determine if he or she is suffering from some type of mental illnesses or problems that may have contributed or that may complicate the case. It is then the social worker’s discretion to refer the juvenile offender to a treatment court. A judge can also make referrals in the event that he or she decides that the juvenile offender may be suffering from some mental illness or problems.