Nothing that happens at juvenile court is considered punishment. It’s considered rehabilitation. They seem to have absorbed the idea that punishment is a form of rehabilitation, but there are many alternatives. Any case other than a fairly serious or violent crime, they are not going to do time in any kind of facility. They’re going to get an alternative treatment, usually counseling and rehabilitation. If it’s a drug case, they are going to go to drug treatment. They may not live in a drug treatment facility, they may see a counselor two or three times a week and be drug tested, which is probably the most common thing. If it is some kind of a low level to mid-level violent crime (i.e. a fight at school or two at school or a low level relationship dispute) they will likely be referred to complete counseling.
Counseling is pretty successful for most juveniles. For many, this is the first time they’ve ever had anybody step in and kind of offer them some assistance and we’ve seen several kids treat it as an opportunity rather than a challenge. Of course as an attorney, we do everything we can to limit the requirements that our clients have to perform. Every additional thing they have to do, from a legal standpoint, is just one more banana peel that they might slip on. Our goal is to limit the banana peels, hopefully down to zero if we can, to get them out entirely and not have to worry about ongoing requirements.