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NCJ Number: 184896 Find in a Library
Title: Best-Laid Plans: The Ideal Juvenile Court (From Sociology of Juvenile Delinquency, Second Edition, P 11-25, 1996, Ronald J. Berger, ed. -- See NCJ-184895)
Author(s): Ellen Ryerson
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: Nelson-Hall Publishers
Chicago, IL 60606
Sale Source: Nelson-Hall Publishers
111 North Canal Street
Chicago, IL 60606
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter reviews the rationale of the reformers who instituted the first juvenile court system, patterned largely after the Massachusetts system for processing juvenile cases.
Abstract: Massachusetts' processing of juveniles provided an example on which to build a system that would relieve child offenders of the undeserved burden of criminal responsibility and yet prevent them from going astray again. Perhaps the most influential idea in shaping the juvenile court system was the thesis that the defect which produced juvenile crime lay not so much in the child as in the environment from which he/she had come; therefore, no child should be treated as a criminal. The child, naturally or at least potentially innocent and moral, learned antisocial behavior from contact with corrupt adults. Accordingly, the first principle of the new court apparatus and its ancillary institutions was to separate the child from adult offenders at all times. Juvenile court legislation usually prohibited the confinement of children with adults, and occasionally made nonsegregated confinement itself punishable as a misdemeanor. In the literature and the laws, founders of the juvenile court demanded not only separate reformatories but separate detention centers and separate sessions or courtrooms as well. In pursuit of the ideal of individualized treatment, the reformers seemed to imagine an infinite range of choices in tailoring the disposition to fit the child. Nevertheless, both practical considerations and premises of the movement itself circumscribed the judge's choice of disposition. Also, one of the distinctive features of the juvenile court movement was its primary, if not exclusive, commitment to probation as the most desirable disposition for child offenders. 44 notes
Main Term(s): Juvenile justice policies
Index Term(s): History of juvenile justice; Juvenile court jurisdiction; Juvenile court procedures; Juvenile court reform; Juvenile court trends
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