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NCJ Number: 70332 Find in a Library
Title: Reforming the Juvenile Justice System
Journal: Journal of Adolescence  Volume:3  Dated:(1980)  Pages:11-16
Author(s): N Tutt
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: the article criticizes British Government policies which hindered implementation of reforms embodied in the 1969 Children and Young Persons Act; alternative approaches are suggested.
Abstract: Failure to implement fully the Children and Young Persons Act which emphasized welfare intervention for offenders under 17 years has led to a disastrous decade for reform in the juvenile justice system. The new Government's act of shifting responsibility for juvenile offenders away from the Department of Health and Social Security back to the Home Office suggests a punitive approach to juvenile crime. This policy ignores that while the numbers of young people sent to borstals and detention centers have doubled since 1969, juvenile crime has continues to rise. The Home Office has also paid little attention to its own research efforts which have documented the serious family problems experienced by many delinquents and suggested that the long-term solution to juvenile crime lies in modifying the child's social and home environment. If the Government wishes to confront the problem of juvenile offenders, it should institute a major public inquiry to examine the need for major reforms. The committee should consider the evidence supporting one of the underlying tenets of the 1969 Act, that juvenile delinquency is a problem which arises in part from local conditions and can only be resolved by local action. For example, problems posed by black youths in South London require a different solution from those in rural areas. Law enforcement, social welfare services, and educational programs for youths should be involved in delinquency policy. Local policy committees should be established which could eventually assume powers over juvenile offenders that are currently exercised by magistrates. Because institutional care has been ineffective in controlling delinquency, decisive actions should be taken to halt the incarceration of young people, such as placing annually smaller limits on borstal populations. Seven references are provided.
Index Term(s): England; Juvenile justice system; Reform
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