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NCJ Number: 174656 Find in a Library
Title: What Is a "Fair" Response to Juvenile Crime?
Journal: Fordham Urban Law Journal  Volume:20  Issue:3  Dated:Spring 1993  Pages:455-466
Author(s): S K Knipps
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 12
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After examining the development of the current juvenile justice system in New York State, this essay discusses the assumptions and values that underlie two prescriptions for change.
Abstract: In the continuing debate over appropriate responses to juvenile crime, some have advocated a change in the current "mix" of models, with greater reliance on the adult system, if not complete abolition of the juvenile court. Two opposite analyses have been advanced to support this position. Some of the critics assert that the Family Court's role should be reduced because it is too lenient to deal effectively with today's young offenders. Others, however, urge a change because they believe the Family Court approach is too punitive. New York State's system for processing juveniles accused of crimes has undergone a series of dramatic changes in the past century. The impulse for reform in this area has been so strong that the system has practically gone full circle in 100 years: from prosecution of juveniles in the adult criminal courts, to adjudication in a separate noncriminal system, and then back to prosecution of some juveniles in the adult system. The current juvenile justice "system" in New York is complex, as it is split between two separate court systems with two separate sets of goals and procedures. The system reflects themes and values imposed by successive reform movements. This essay contends that increased prosecution of juveniles in the adult courts would be unlikely to improve the current situation. It notes factors that have limited the fairness and effectiveness of the Family Court's rehabilitative model and suggests alternative strategies that might be helpful in addressing juvenile crime. The author argues that for the vast majority of youth, less restrictive measures than incarceration are appropriate and less costly. The Family Court has the statutory obligation to order such community-based dispositions whenever possible. With resources to implement this mandate, the Family Court can fairly protect the community and provide the necessary intervention services to the youths who come before it. 26 footnotes
Main Term(s): Juvenile court reform
Index Term(s): Family courts; Juvenile court jurisdiction; New York
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