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NCJ Number: 143762 Find in a Library
Title: REINVENTING JUVENILE JUSTICE
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
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