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NCJ Number: 51682 Find in a Library
Title: FUTURE OF JUVENILE JUSTICE - ENGLISH COURTS AND SCOTTISH HEARINGS
Journal: HOWARD JOURNAL OF PENOLOGY AND CRIME PREVENTION  Volume:17  Issue:2  Dated:(1978)  Pages:78-90
Author(s): F M MARTIN
Corporate Author: Howard League for Penal Reform
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Howard League for Penal Reform
London, N19 3NL, England
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: THE HISTORY, IDEOLOGY, STRUCTURE, AND OPERATION OF JUVENILE COURTS IN ENGLAND AND CHILDREN'S PANELS IN SCOTLAND ARE COMPARED.
Abstract: JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORMS IN SCOTLAND AND ENGLAND DURING THE 1960'S TOOK PLACE WITHIN DIFFERENT CONTEXTS. IN ENGLAND, THE END RESULT OF REFORM DEBATE WAS THE RETENTION OF JUVENILE COURTS, ALBEIT WITH GREATLY CIRCUMSCRIBED FUNCTIONS AND SHIFTS IN PHILOSOPHY. SCOTLAND HAD NO WELL ESTABLISHED PATTERN OF JUVENILE COURTS WHEN, IN 1968, IT ESTABLISHED A SYSTEM OF CHILDREN'S PANELS--LOCAL PANELS OF LAY PERSONS WHO ASSESS THE NEEDS OF CHILDREN REFERRED BY PANEL 'REPORTERS,' OFFICIALS WITH BACKGROUNDS IN LAW OR SOCIAL WORK WHO DECIDE WHAT ACTION (IF ANY) IS TO BE TAKEN WITH CHILDREN REFERRED BY POLICE, SCHOOLS, OTHER AGENCIES, AND PRIVATE CITIZENS. THE PANELS DO NOT ADJUDICATE ON MATTERS OF INNOCENCE OR GUILT, BUT RATHER DETERMINE WHAT 'COMPULSORY MEASURE OF CARE' IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD. THE PANELS DO NOT DEAL WITH ALL JUVENILE DELINQUENCY. FOR EVERY 100 YOUTHS REFERRED TO PANEL REPORTERS, 9 OR 10 ARE PROSECUTED IN THE COURTS. DESPITE DIFFERENCES IN CONTEXT, PROPOSALS FOR REFORM IN SCOTLAND AND ENGLAND SHARED CERTAIN BASIC FEATURES. BOTH MOVED AWAY FROM A TRADITIONAL 'CRIME AND PUNISHMENT' APPROACH AND TOWARD AN ESSENTIALLY WELFARE-ORIENTED APPROACH. BOTH REFLECTED A BELIEF THAT INVOLVEMENT IN A FORMAL JUDICIAL PROCESS IS IN ITSELF LIKELY TO BE HARMFUL TO YOUTHS. UNDER BOTH SYSTEMS, SOCIAL SERVICE WORKERS ASSUMED CONSIDERABLE RESPONSIBILIY BOTH FOR ADVISING DECISIONMAKERS (THROUGH BACKGROUND REPORTS ON YOUTHS) AND FOR GIVING EFFECT TO MANY OF THE DECISIONS MADE. THERE IS LITTLE SYSTEMATIC EVIDENCE REGARDING HOW THE REFORMS HAVE WORKED IN PRACTICE. THE SCOTTISH SYSTEM'S MOST NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT MAY BE THAT IT HAS SURVIVED. ALTHOUGH PUBLIC CRITICISM OF PROPOSED REFORMS IN SCOTLAND DURING THE 1960'S WAS MUTED COMPARED TO THAT IN ENGLAND, REACTION TO THE SCOTTISH SYSTEM ONCE IT HAD BEEN PUT INTO OPERATION WAS INTENSE AND SOMETIMES HOSTILE. ONE SERIOUS CRITICISM OF THE SCOTTISH PANELS AND HEARINGS IS THAT, IN SUCH A NONJUDICIAL SYSTEM WITH ITS WIDE DISCRETIONARY POWERS, THERE IS A DANGER THAT LEGAL RIGHTS MAY BE UNDERMINED AND SERIOUS INJUSTICES PERPETRATED IN THE NAME OF THE CHILD'S BEST INTERESTS. PLANS TO STUDY THE SCOTTISH SYSTEM--THE DISCRETIONARY POWERS OF REFERRING AGENTS, THE DECISIONMAKING PROCESSES OF PANELS, CHILDREN'S PERCEPTIONS OF THE HEARINGS, THE PERSONAL ATTITUDES OF PANEL MEMBERS, THE LONG TERM EFFECTS OF THE HEARING SYSTEM ON CHILDREN--ARE NOTED. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT DIFFERENCES IN STRUCTURE, POWER, STYLE, AND MODE OF OPERATION BETWEEN THE ENGLISH AND SCOTTISH SYSTEMS OF JUVENILE JUSTICE ARE REAL, BUT THAT THE EXTENT AND NATURE OF THE INFLUENCE OF THESE DIFFERENCES ARE YET TO BE DETERMINED. A LIST OF REFERENCES IS INCLUDED. (LKM)
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; England; Juvenile justice system; Reform; Scotland
Note: BASED ON A PAPER DELIVERED TO THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE HOWARD LEAGUE FOR PENAL REFORM, OCTOBER 1977
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51682

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