JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM MODEL LESSON PLAN
I. GOALS: Studying the juvenile justice system helps students:
A. Recognize the rights and the responsibilities that the
justice system allocates to juveniles.
B. Think of potential consequences to actions they may
chose to participate in.
C. Make better decisions regarding potential juvenile
D. Understand the structures that could control the
disposition of their case if they were arrested as a
A. Knowledge Objectives - As a result of this class,
students will be better able to:
1. define the general steps in the disposition of a
2. define certain individuals who are involved at
different points in the case and what they
B. Skills Objectives - As a result of this class, students
will be better able to:
1. comprehend and participate in court
3. document information gleaned from basic legal
C. Attitude Objectives - Students will be better able to
1. that the legal system is structured to promote
2. that punishment is designed to address the failure
of an individual to execute their responsibilities.
III. CLASSROOM METHODS
a. Student: This lesson requires no
background reading, but the students may
absorb more information if they have
previously read the Street Law chapters on
Criminal Law and on Juvenile Justice. On
the other hand, some confusion and
frustration may be helpful for the students
to understand the actual experience of a
juvenile involved with the system.
b. Teacher: This lesson requires significant
preparation to pull it off smoothly. There
are five different ‘characters’; each
character has an introductory biography
and five progressive stations. Depending
on whether you want the students to work
alone or in partners, this amounts to a
significant number of papers to arrange
ahead of time.
i. There are five ‘characters’. Print off
as many copies as necessary so that
each student (or each pair) has one set
ii. Put the papers in envelopes, labeled
with the offender number, and sort
them between the stations.
iii. In class, have the stations labeled with
iv. Have enough copies of the worksheet
for each student.
B. Introduction (in class):
a. Explain that we are going to complete an
exercise that will help the students
understand the processes and procedures
that are involved in the juvenile justice
b. Ask the students their ages and clarify that
the juvenile justice system only has
authority over individuals under 18. Also
clarify that, though most infractions
committed by individuals under the age of
18 will be processed through the juvenile
system, not all are (some serious offenses
are transferred to adult court). Lastly,
clarify that, though the juvenile and the
adult system are similar, there are
c. Show Juvenile Justice powerpoint or
briefly explain the unique characteristics of
the juvenile justice system.
a. ***The activity can either be completed by
individual students or in pairs. It is slightly
more complicated in pairs, but it is also
useful if there are students with learning
challenges to have another student assisting
them. If you choose to use pairs, establish
some way to arrange pairs.
b. Explain that the exercise involves
proceeding through the stages of the
juvenile justice system. Students will
receive a paper that describes a
hypothetical student, and a worksheet.
They will start at the first station, indicated
on the first sheet. Each station will have
the next ‘chapter’ in their story and will
direct them where to go next. Tell them
they need to use the information at the
stations to fill out the worksheet.
c. Hand out hypotheticals and worksheets.
d. As students proceed through the stages, be
available to answer questions.
A. If there is time, either at the end of the first class
period, or at the beginning of the next, ask students:
a. How did it feel?
b. Did it seem confusing or straight forward?
c. Can you imagine actually proceeding through
the process in reality?
d. ***If you debrief the next class period, ask
some of the students to share from their
B. Have students turn in the worksheets; grade them
for understanding as well as insight.