Theorizing about what affects police behavior has generally taken three approaches, either independently or in combination: psychological; sociological; and organizational. Although there are many cases where the juvenile did not commit a serious crime, there are others where the crime is so bad the juvenile court system tries the juvenile as an adult.
Some states allow a dispositional hearing immediately after the adjudicatory hearing if the youth admits to the offense, but usually time is required to complete a social history or receive evidence.
Usually, the pretrial alternative is offered only to first-time low-risk offenders. Pages — The other challenge for police is juveniles commit a disproportionate number of offenses compared to their population.
In deciding how to handle incidents involving youth, the police have a wide range of responses available to them. If the court finds probable cause, a second decision involves whether the court will retain jurisdiction or transfer the case.
Varieties of Police Behavior. One might suppose that police decisionmaking with juvenile suspects turns on different factors than decisions regarding adults.