skip navigation


Abstract Database

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

To download this abstract, check the box next to the NCJ number then click the "Back To Search Results" link. Then, click the "Download" button on the Search Results page. Also see the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 143762 Find in a Library
Author(s): B Krisberg; J F Austin
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 220
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Publication Number: ISBN 0-8039-4829-8
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The rise in youth violence is intimately tied to social and economic forces, the increased availability of drugs and weapons, and saturation of the media with violent messages; in view of dramatic social changes affecting juveniles, central questions have arisen as to whether the juvenile court can or should survive in the years ahead and what reforms are needed to make the juvenile justice system more responsive to youth needs.
Abstract: Observers of the juvenile court include both liberal and conservative critics. A key criticism is that the juvenile court lacks a core constituency in the political arena; legal victories achieved on behalf of children in the 1960's and 1970's have been eroded due to budgetary constraints and a less sympathetic judiciary. Further, the political debate on youth crime has been dominated by advocates of "get tough" laws, and the upsurge in violent juvenile crime will likely increase the pressure to handle more children in adult courts and correctional facilities. Following a review of the history of juvenile delinquency control and prevention in the United States and the contemporary juvenile justice system's structure and operation, the authors focus on the influence of gender and race on youth custody and on the Massachusetts experiment in juvenile corrections. The authors note that Massachusetts' approach clearly demonstrates the value of a community-based response to juvenile crime and that reforms in Massachusetts have influenced juvenile justice approaches in several other jurisdictions. They conclude that demographic, social, and economic changes will mean many more deeply troubled adolescents in the juvenile justice system. In addition, due to the enormous problems of prison and jail overcrowding in most States, juvenile corrections administrators will not be able to compete successfully for scarce public revenues to construct new facilities. With its reduced caseload of status offenders, the juvenile court has lost much of its traditional preventive mission. Moreover, the growing tendency to transfer serious juvenile offenders to the adult system has truncated the juvenile court's workload. Main juvenile justice system clients are now repeat property offenders, drug offenders, minor offenders, and individuals who have failed in child welfare placements. In view of the juvenile court's erosion, various alternatives and reforms for the future are suggested that focus on making juvenile delinquency a public health issue, implementing a developmental perspective, protecting the legal rights of adolescents, and treating the whole child. References, notes, tables, and figures
Main Term(s): Juvenile courts; Juvenile justice reform
Index Term(s): Economic influences; Juvenile justice system; Juvenile offenders; Juveniles; Massachusetts; Social change; Violent juvenile offenders
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.