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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 48016 Find in a Library
Title: SHOULD JUVENILE DELINQUENCY BE ABOLISHED?
Journal: CRIME AND DELINQUENCY  Volume:23  Issue:2  Dated:(APRIL 1977)  Pages:196-203
Author(s): F B MCCARTHY
Corporate Author: National Council on Crime and Delinquency
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: National Council on Crime and Delinquency
Des Moines, IA 50316
Type: Overview Text
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM FROM ITS BEGINNINGS 150 YEARS AGO THROUGH AND BEYOND THE 1967 GAULT DECISION IS PRESENTED WHICH SUGGESTS THAT THE LEGAL CONCEPT OF JUVENILE DELINQUENCY IS NOT VIABLE.
Abstract: THE ORIGINS OF A SEPARATE SYSTEM OF JUSTICE FOR CHILDREN LAY IN A BENEVOLENT CONCERN FOR THE PROPER DEVELOPMENT OF THE YOUNG. THE INITIAL CONCERN OF EARLY REFORMERS WAS TO REMOVE CHILDREN FROM LIABILITY TO PURELY PUNITIVE SANCTIONS AND TO PROVIDE DISPOSITIONAL ALTERNATIVES. THUS THE JUVENILE COURT SYSTEM, WITH THE JUDGE ACTING AS A FATHER FIGURE, WAS BORN. THE DOCTRINES OF PARENS PATRIAE AND IN LOCO PARENTIS WERE LIBERALLY BORROWED AND ADAPTED. IN GAULT THE U.S. SUPREME COURT LABELED THE JUVENILE COURT A 'KANGAROO COURT' AND SUBSEQUENTLY PROCEEDED TO RESTRICT ITS OPERATIONS IN THE INTERESTS OF PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF JUVENILES. SINCE GAULT, STATES HAVE REDRAFTED THEIR DEFINITIONS OF JUVENILE DELINQUENCY TO INCLUDE ONLY THOSE BEHAVIORS WHICH ARE VIOLATIVE OF THE CRIMINAL LAW. THUS, BOTH THE JUVENILE AND THE CRIMINAL COURT ARE CONCERNED WITH IDENTICAL ACTS AND BOTH DERIVE THEIR JURISDICTIONAL BASE FROM THE CRIMINAL LAW. ONCE AN ALLEGATION OF DELINQUENCY HAS BEEN MADE, A DETERMINATION OF GUILT IS MADE BY A JUDICIAL TRIBUNAL. AGAIN, SUPREME COURT DECISIONS MAKE IT CLEAR THAT THE JUVENILE COURT IS TO FUNCTION AS A COURT OF LAW IN WHICH THE JUVENILE HAS THE RIGHT TO COUNCEL, TO NOTICE OF PROCEEDINGS, TO CONFRONT AND CROSS-EXAMINE WITNESSES, TO HAVE GUILT ESTABLISHED BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT, AND TO INTERPOSE A PLEA OF FORMER JEOPARDY. ADDITIONAL SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE JUVENILE COURT AND THE CRIMINAL COURT INCLUDE THE OFTEN PENAL NATURE OF THE DISPOSITIONS, AND THE STIGMATIZING EFFECTS OF A CONVICTION. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN JUVENILE AND CRIMINAL COURTS INCLUDE THE MORE SPECIALIZED STAFF AND DISPOSITIONAL ALTERNATIVES AVAILABLE TO THE JUVENILE COURT, HEARING BEFORE A JUDGE ALONE, AND THE SELECTIVE INCORPORATION AND DELETION OF CRIMINAL LAW PRINCIPLES. MORE AND MORE IT HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED THAT THE INTERESTS PROTECTED BY THE CRIMINAL LAW SHOULD ALSO BE OBSERVED IN CASES OF MINORS WHO HAVE VIOLATED THE CRIMINAL LAW, FOR THESE INTERESTS ARE FUNDAMENTAL TO OUR SOCIETY. GIVEN THIS POSITION, THERE ARE TWO ALTERNATIVES: THESE PRINCIPALS CAN BE INCORPORATED INTO THE JUVENILE COURTS, OR THE JUVENILE COURTS MAY BE ELIMINATED AND THE CRIMINAL COURTS GIVEN JURISDICTION OVER ALL CASES INVOLVING CRIMINAL VIOLATIONS. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE LATTER COURSE IS MORE ACCEPTABLE. THE GOALS WHICH UNDERLIE THE CATEGORY OF DELINQUENCY WITH REGARD TO INTAKE AND DISPOSITIONAL BENEFITS TO THE JUVENILE CAN EASILY BE INCORPORATED IN JUVENILE CRIMINAL CASE PROCESSING THROUGH LIMITED STATUTORY PROVISIONS. A TRANSFER OF DELINQUENCY CASES TO THE CRIMINAL COURTS NEED NOT IMPAIR THE LAUDABLE OBJECTIVES OF THE JUVENILE COURTS, BUT WOULD BETTER PRESERVE AND PROTECT THE BROADER VALUES OF OUR SOCIETY. NOTES ARE INCLUDED. (JAP)
Index Term(s): Court reorganization; Criminal codes; Criminal justice system analysis; Criminal justice system reform; History of juvenile justice; Judicial decisions; Jurisprudence; Juvenile court procedures; Juvenile justice reform; Juvenile justice system; Law reform; Laws and Statutes; Rights of minors; Survey texts
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=48016

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