Discussion Thread Question: Importance of Discretion in Police-Juvenile Interactions

The police play a key role in the juvenile justice system because they are, typically, the point of first contact. Their decisions often affect the youth throughout the entire juvenile justice process. For example, depending on the nature of the offense, the arresting officers might use their discretion in deciding whether to release the suspected delinquents to their parents or to book them in the local jail or detention facility. Juveniles who are booked are more likely to be dealt with formally should they once again come in contact with law enforcement.


Likewise, an officer might decide to handle a juvenile suspected of a delinquent offense (which would be considered a crime if committed by an adult) differently from a juvenile suspected of a status offense (which is an offense only because of the age of the suspect) because of basic differences between the two types of offenses.


Submission Details: By Sunday, November 17, 2013, in a minimum of 250 words. post your responses to the following:

  • What are the options available to the police when interacting with juveniles suspected of delinquent activity?
  • Do these options differ if the juvenile in question is suspected of a status offense? Why or why not?
  • What factors go into a police officer’s decision to arrest a suspect? Do you think the amount of discretion available to the police is reasonable? Explain your answer.

Discussion Grading Criteria and Rubric

All discussion assignments in this course will be graded using a rubric. This assignment is worth 40 points. Download the discussion rubric and carefully read it to understand the expectations.



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