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NCJ Number: 206796 Find in a Library
Title: Juvenile Crime, Adult Adjudication, and the Death Penalty: Draconian Policies Revisited
Journal: Justice Policy Journal  Volume:1  Issue:2  Dated:Spring 2003  Pages:3-22
Author(s): Randall G. Shelden; Michelle Hussong
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 22
Document: PDF
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the consequences to youth, in particular minority youth, of the current “get tough” movement concerning juvenile justice.
Abstract: The authors assert that current “zero tolerance” juvenile justice policies, which include the use of court waivers or certification of juveniles to the adult system, are draconian and disproportionately affect poor African-American and other minority youth. The “get tough” movement has resulted in a sharp increase in youths being formally processed through the juvenile justice system for minor or “technical” offenses. A historical overview of the juvenile justice system illustrates the view that juvenile justice policies in the United States follow a cyclical pattern in which political favor fluctuates from acting in the best interests of the child (rehabilitation) to protecting the rights of adults. This cyclical pattern is further illustrated through an examination of court cases, beginning in 1832 through 1967, when the United States Supreme Court ruled that children should be accorded certain constitutional rights. The authors discuss how media-driven moral panics shape the perceptions of children and adolescents, in turn shaping policies concerning juvenile delinquency. Moral panics have disproportionately focused on the already existing divisions of race, class, and age. The remainder of the article focuses on the abuses that have occurred when juveniles are transferred to the adult criminal justice system, beginning with an examination of waivers or certification which transfers authority over a juvenile defendant from the juvenile justice system to the adult system. The authors also consider the imposition of the death penalty on juvenile offenders; the United Nations has asserted that the United States policy of executing juvenile offenders violates international laws and treaties signed or ratified by the United States. In closing, the authors discuss the social-structural factors that have impacted minority populations, but which are rarely explored by policymakers as part of the problem, such as decreasing semi- and unskilled job opportunities. References
Main Term(s): Criminal justice ideologies; Juvenile justice reform
Index Term(s): Criminal justice system policy; Policy analysis
Note: Downloaded September 9, 2004.
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