Trauma exposure and posttraumatic stress disorder are common and are associated with a wide range of negative psychiatric and physical outcomes. Furthermore, a large percentage of justice-involved youth have high rates of trauma exposure and trauma-related symptoms. Addressing these issues would improve outcomes at the level of the justice system overall and in the lives of justice-involved youth. Nonetheless, awareness, education, and implementation of trauma-informed approaches in the criminal juvenile justice system are lacking. This article explores current literature that operationalizes trauma-informed practices and approaches in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Unfortunately, there is no shared understanding or definition of trauma and no predictability in trauma-informed practices and approaches in the criminal juvenile justice system. Despite the presence of written policies, the application and execution of such policies are limited and inconsistent throughout the system. These limitations contribute to ongoing, systemic institutional racism, lack of mental health or substance abuse treatment, limited diversion options, and unnecessary jail and prison sentences, which together amplify financial and humanitarian costs. We argue that in order for the criminal juvenile justice system to become trauma-informed, it should (1) meet basic needs of clients, (2) check and change narratives, and check underlying assumptions, (3) focus on skill building/habilitation, (4) move away from punishment and toward rehabilitation and humanitarian approaches, and (5) heal and support members that work in and for the system. We conclude that there is a need to improve processes for education, training, and coaching in, and consistent application of, trauma-informed practices and approaches within the criminal and juvenile justice systems.