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NCJ Number: 172268 Find in a Library
Title: Historical Legacy of Juvenile Corrections (From Juvenile Justice Programs and Trends, P 45-49, 1996, Alice Fins, ed. -- See NCJ-172261)
Author(s): B Krisberg
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: American Correctional Assoc
Alexandria, VA 22314
Sale Source: American Correctional Assoc
206 N. Washington St., Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper reviews the history of juvenile corrections in America, from the first juvenile facilities established by religious groups in 1825 to the current punitive model that emphasizes the imprisonment of juveniles.
Abstract: The most significant growth in public juvenile corrections began in the second half of the 19th century. Growing fears about immigration and the potential for class warfare led government officials to centralize the administration of juvenile facilities. In 1876 there were 51 reform schools or houses of refuge nationwide. By 1890 almost every State outside the South had a reform school, and many States had separate facilities for males and females, as well as separate facilities for racial segregation. The new reform schools came under severe attack from a group of advocates who argued that they were not effective in changing a youth's problem behaviors. The Civil War caused a deterioration in the conditions of confinement for juvenile offenders. Many institutions resorted to contracting out the labor of their charges to increase revenues for the reform schools. In this era, the American Correctional Association promulgated enlightened professional standards for the operation of these reform schools. It was not until the late 1950s that a few States, such as New Jersey, began to experiment with alternatives to traditional incarceration. Then in the early 1970s Massachusetts took the radical step of closing all of its State training schools, as it replaced them with a network of small secure facilities and a wide array of community-based services. Youth advocates used the Massachusetts model to draft the Federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, which offered grants to States that were willing to remove status offenders from secure custody, separate adult and juvenile inmates, and promote "advanced juvenile justice practices." The reform thrust of this legislation was soon blunted by 12 years of Reagan and Bush Administrations, which opposed deinstitutionalization and promoted imprisonment as the primary means of dealing with law-breaking. Still, there are signs that a more enlightened view of juvenile corrections is being maintained. The Federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency prevention is exercising a constructive national leadership role in juvenile corrections, and there is renewed interest in upgrading professional standards in juvenile corrections. Many professional correctional associations are speaking out against the punitive rhetoric so popular among politicians, and private philanthropy is supporting progressive juvenile justice reform.
Main Term(s): History of juvenile justice
Index Term(s): Juvenile correctional reform; Juvenile Corrections/Detention; Juvenile justice policies
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