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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 67926 Find in a Library
Title: SHOULD KIDS HAVE RIGHTS? - REFORMING CHILDREN'S COURTS
Journal: LEGAL SERVICE BULLETIN  Volume:4  Issue:2  Dated:(APRIL 1979)  Pages:51-55
Author(s): M STAMM
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: REFORMS THAT WERE MADE BETWEEN 1970 AND 1979 IN THE STATE OF KENTUCKY'S CHILDREN'S COURTS AND THEIR REVERSALS SHOW THAT REFORM OF JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEMS MUST TAKE INTO ACCOUNT ALL ASPECTS, FROM THE COURTS TO INSTITUTIONS.
Abstract: CHILDREN'S INTERESTS CAN BE PROTECTED AND REPRESENTED ONLY THROUGH THE ESTABLISHMENT OF FAIR, REGULARIZED, AND PREDICTABLE PROCEDURES WHICH KEEP THE CHILD ON EQUAL FOOTING WITH GOVERNMENT AT EVERY STAGE OF THE JUDICIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE HANDLING OF A CASE. KENTUCKY RECOGNIZED THAT TOO MANY CHILDREN WERE BEING FOUND DELINQUENT AND GAINING COURT RECORDS BECAUSE OF UNFAIR AND SHODDY COURT PROCEDURES WHICH VIOLATED THEIR BASIC RIGHTS, AND THAT TOO MANY CHILDREN WERE BEING PUT INTO OR KEPT IN STATE INSTITUTIONS BECAUSE OF HAPHAZARD AGENCY PROCEDURES AND MISUNDERSTANDINGS BETWEEN THE COURTS AND THE STATE AGENCY. THUS THE STATE'S REFORM PROVIDED FOR MORE SPECIFIC PROCEDURES TO BE USED IN POLICE CONTACTS WITH CHILDREN, ALMOST IMMEDIATE REVIEW BY A JUDGE OF THE PROBABLE CAUSE OF THE OFFENSE, AND THE REQUIREMENT OF CONSTITUTIONAL FORMALITIES IN SERIOUS PROCEEDINGS (RIGHT TO COUNSEL, TO CROSS-EXAMINE, AND TO APPEAL). MORE INFORMED USE OF PROBATION AND COMMUNITY DISPOSITIONS WAS ENCOURAGED. WHEN ALL NONLAWYERS WERE REMOVED FROM THE BENCH, LAWYERS WERE CRITICAL IN FORMALIZING AND EDUCATING THE COURT IN THE NEW REFORMS. THEY HELPED CUT DOWN THE NUMBERS OF CHILDREN COMING BEFORE THE COURT BY POSING A CHALLENGE TO TRADITIONAL POLICE PRACTICES REGARDING CHARGES AND DETENTION. IN CONCERT WITH COMMUNITY SOCIAL WORKERS, LAWYERS KEPT MANY CHILDREN FROM BEING COMMITTED TO THE STATE AND INSTITUTIONALIZED. IN VERY SERIOUS CASES, THEY WERE OFTEN ABLE TO PREVENT CHILDREN FROM BEING TRANSFERRED TO CRIMINAL COURT BY SECURING THEIR COMMITMENT TO THE STATE. THEN AS THE STATE BEGAN TO FEEL THE STRAIN ON ITS INSTITUTIONS AND PERSONNEL, OPEN WARFARE BROKE OUT BETWEEN SOCIAL WORKERS WHO WORKED IN THE OCMMUNITY AND THOSE WITH A VESTED INTEREST IN KEEPING THE INSTITUTIONS FILLED. BEFORE LONG, CONDITIONS REVERTED TO THEIR PRE-REFORM STATE, BECAUSE THE APPROACH HAD NOT BEEN PERVASIVE ENOUGH. FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED.
Index Term(s): Court reform; Juvenile adjudication; Juvenile court procedures; Kentucky; Rights of minors; State courts
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67926

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