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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76570 Find in a Library
Title: Juvenile Justice System - Structure, Problems and Prospects (From Justice as Fairness, P 121-159, 1981, David Fogel and Joe Hudson, ed. See NCJ-76564)
Author(s): C Shireman
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 39
Sponsoring Agency: Anderson Publishing Co
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Sale Source: Anderson Publishing Co
Publicity Director
2035 Reading Road
Cincinnati, OH 45202
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The tremendous amount of discretion exercised over youth caught up in the juvenile justice system is discussed, and four areas for juvenile justice reform are cited: decriminalization of status offenses, diversion out of the system, increased emphasis on due process procedures, and limitations on discretion.
Abstract: An overview of the present juvenile justice system covers police work with juveniles, juvenile detention, the juvenile court, juvenile probation, and juvenile correctional institutions. Among the inherent contradictions upon which the juvenile justice system is built are the concept of individualized justice versus the rule of law, rehabilitation versus control, opposing definitions of the nature of man, and the ability of the state to control behavior. Today, the resolution of the tensions arising from these fundamental contradictions remains the task of the juvenile justice system. Four major areas of opportunity for reform are the decriminalization of status offenses, diversion of increasing numbers of youthful offenders away from the justice system and into voluntary services, the correction of common deficiencies in due process so as to assure greater fairness, and limitation of the enormous discretion now granted courts in the sentencing of juveniles. Four themes seem to be emerging as powerful determinates of the directions in which the juvenile justice system of the future will move: (1) provision for the imposition of statutorily defined sanctions in the instances of serious offenses by juveniles, particularly, serious violent offenses; (2) introduction of statutory and procedural limitations upon the broad discretion to intervene coercively in the lives of youth and families traditionally exercised by the juvenile justice system; (3) endorsement of the quest for real and evident 'fairness' in all relations between state and the offender; and (4) continuation of the endeavor to achieve through noncoercive means the benign, helping goals traditionally important to the juvenile justice system. Tables and 56 references are supplied.
Index Term(s): Judicial discretion; Juvenile adjudication; Juvenile codes; Juvenile court diversion; Juvenile courts; Juvenile detention; Rights of minors; Status offense decriminalization
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