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NCJ Number: 148676 Find in a Library
Title: Juvenile Justice: The Need to Ask the Right Questions (From National Conference on Juvenile Justice, P 25-33, 1993, Lynn Atkinson and Sally-Anne Gerull, eds. -- See NCJ- 148673)
Author(s): J Seymour
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: Australian Institute of Criminology
Canberra ACT, 2601, Australia
Sale Source: Australian Institute of Criminology
GPO Box 2944
Canberra ACT, 2601,
Type: Conference Material
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This paper identifies fundamental questions that must be addressed by those concerned about the design of procedures for responding to offenses by juveniles in Australia.
Abstract: The first question is "What objectives can the system realistically pursue?" From one perspective, the answer is obvious: the system's purpose is to control and prevent juvenile crime. The answer is not so obvious, however, when an analysis of the roots of juvenile crime reveals the limitations of the juvenile justice system in addressing the factors that foster juvenile delinquency. The juvenile justice system must recognize its specialized role in helping control and prevent juvenile crime, but it must also acknowledge that it is but one of many governmental and community institutions responsible for influencing and guiding juveniles' moral development. The second question that must be addressed is "What are the problems with the existing system?" One of the problems is the dominance of lawyers in framing the structure and procedures of the juvenile justice system. Lawyers emphasize correct legal process. Such an emphasis, however, may not reflect the needs of those youth who come into the juvenile justice system. Most juveniles plead guilty, which suggests that juvenile court operations should focus on appropriate dispositions more than on procedures for determining guilt. A third fundamental question is "Should we do more or less?" Labeling theory suggests that formal intervention in the lives of youth should be lessened. Braithwaite (1989), however, suggests that we should do more to make juvenile offenders aware of the harm and suffering their offenses have caused, but this should be done in a way that will not reinforce their deviance. The final question is "Where should decisionmaking powers reside?" This question involves determining whose expertise and experience qualifies them to make decisions that impact the lives of youthful offenders. Various models posit decisionmaking with police, juvenile judges, social workers, and victims. A strategy of power sharing is suggested by the expertise of these various parties. 11 references
Main Term(s): Juveniles
Index Term(s): Decisionmaking; Foreign juvenile justice systems; Juvenile court diversion; Juvenile justice reform
Note: From proceedings of the National Conference on Juvenile Justice, held in Adelaide, Australia, September 22-24, 1992.
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