Juvenile courts were created as innovative legal institutions aimed at protecting young offenders rather than punishing them. They were local courts, typically organized at the county level and authorized by state legislation that provided juveniles with hearings and detention facilities separate from those for adults. The first was established in Cook County (Chicago), Illinois, in 1899. Juvenile courts typically have had jurisdiction over young people ages 17 and under (although some courts have placed the maximum age at 16 or 15). They handled ...

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