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NCJ Number: 148843 Find in a Library
Title: Moral and Practical Problems With Redefining the Goal of the Juvenile Justice System as Accountability
Journal: Journal of Juvenile Law  Volume:14  Dated:(1993)  Pages:26-46
Author(s): M Elin-Blomquist; M L Forst
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 21
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Accountability and treatment mandates in the juvenile justice system in California are discussed.
Abstract: The statutory language that establishes the purposes of California's correctional system -- the California Youth Authority (CYA) -- defines the mission of the CYA as that of substituting treatment and training for retributive punishment. In addition, the statutory provision that defines the general purposes of the juvenile court law calls for holding juveniles accountable for criminal conduct. Together, these two legislative mandates establish the general direction for juvenile correctional policy in California. Correctional officials, however, have considerable discretion to resolve such important issues as the meaning of accountability, the relationship between accountability and the traditional ideology of treatment and training, and the proper factors to consider when making confinement and release decisions. This article examines the administrative policies and practices formulated to give meaning and effect to their accountability and treatment mandates. The effects of these policies and practices, confining youths for longer periods than in the past and for periods that have exceeded those served by adult prisoners, and holding youthful offenders to standards of responsibility that exceed the standards applied to adult offenders and nondelinquent youths, also are described. The article provides a background on California's juvenile justice system, including legislative reforms in the 1970s and 1980s and a description of the CYA mission and programs. The authors conclude that this case study of California┬Žs experience with defining and operationalizing accountability suggests that accountability is incompatible with the origins of the juvenile justice system as well as the jurisprudence of adolescence that has developed in the last 50 years. Accountability rhetoric appears to be obscuring a growing tension in public policy between the state's duty to protect and promote child welfare and the public's demands for protection and vengeance in the handling of criminals, whether juveniles or adults. Footnotes
Main Term(s): Juveniles
Index Term(s): California; Corrections; Criminology; Juvenile justice system
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