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What to expect when your child faces youth court

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2023 | Youth Court |

Facing the legal system after a child’s arrest can be daunting for any family. In Mississippi, the youth court handles cases involving minors.

Understanding what to expect during this process can help families navigate juvenile legal matters.

Initial court appearance

Following a child’s arrest, the family can anticipate an initial court appearance. The court will present the charges and decide on further proceedings such as detention or release. Parents should prepare to attend this hearing with their children.

Detention hearing

The court may deem it necessary to schedule a detention hearing.  This proceeding decides whether the state should hold the child in custody pending the outcome of the case. The judge will assess factors such as the nature of the offense, the child’s criminal history and their risk of flight.

Adjudication and disposition

An adjudication hearing serves as the equivalent to a trial in youth court. If the court finds the child responsible for the charges, the judge will determine the appropriate consequences in a disposition hearing.

The court can order probation, counseling or community service, for example. Some offenders do receive prison time. Mississippi has approximately 1,181 state inmates whose arrests took place before they turned 18. In addition, 68% of those individuals have been in prison for more than two decades.

Rehabilitation planning

Youth court prioritizes rehabilitation over punishment. The focus is on helping the minor reintegrate into society as a responsible and law-abiding citizen. The court may outline rehabilitation plans that address the underlying issues, emphasizing support and guidance.

The active involvement of caring families can significantly impact the overall success of a minor’s legal journey.