Come to think of it, after this week's tour of the detention facility, a lot reminds me of boarding school. But I'll talk more about that the other time, this post is for a general overview.
The biggest differences are as follows:
- I'm in court two days a week, not five.
- There are no jury trials. Ever. Which I know I'll miss, sooner rather than later.
- Defendants are called Respondents.
- Prosecutors have much less say about the disposition of cases than in adult. Be clear: this is a good thing, because I'm no child psychologist and I trust all the professionals here to know what's in the kid's best interests.
- The kid's best interests are the primary focus (as I've said before, I personally think this is as it should be).
- I have fewer cases, and dockets are shorter (yay!)
I'm also seeing how important good parenting is. Not that anyone should be surprised by that observation, but it seems to me that so many of the problems these kids have stem from parental issues -- inattention and neglect, mental or drug problems of one or both parents, and sometimes just a single-parent who is overwhelmed.
A very interesting start, I can tell you that.