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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76667 Find in a Library
Title: Justice for Children
Author(s): A Morris; H Giller; E Szwed; H Geach
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 149
Sponsoring Agency: Humanities Press, Inc.
Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716
Sale Source: Humanities Press, Inc.
17 First Avenue
Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This book critically examines the contemporary juvenile justice system in Great Britain and proposes radical alternatives to protect children's legal rights.
Abstract: The social and legal position of children is traced from the early 19th century to the present, emphasizing the contradictory policies which underlie the juvenile justice system. The philosophy behind the 1969 Children and Young Persons Act is reviewed, and the actual impact of the act in reducing delinquency is assessed. Discussion of the ideological conflicts over the care and control responsibilities of the juvenile court versus social workers is followed by an evaluation of various treatment approaches. Children's comments on the justice system are offered to demonstrate that they see the courts as punitive, not rehabilitative, and expect penalties to reflect the nature of the offense and the offender's culpability. Because treatment does not work, the book then provides a blueprint for the reform of the juvenile court beginning with diversion programs. Principles to guide the juvenile court back to a traditional role of administering justice are then proposed. In this scheme, sanctions are proportionate to the seriousness of the offense, sentences are determinate, the principle of least restrictive alternative is applied, and juveniles have the right to counsel. The legal provisions for receiving children into care are reviewed, as are current provisions for legal representation and legal rights when the State intervenes in the lives of children and their families. The following issues are explored to illustrate situations in which arbitrary and unjust decisions can occur: proceedings under the 1948 Children Act, abuse registers and case conferences, and the lack of rights among children in care. Finally, the creation of a family court with comprehensive powers over all aspects of family crisis is suggested. Criteria to guide this court are outlined, such as respect for family autonomy, limited intervention in the lives of children and families, and the least restrictive alternative principle. A bibliography of over 120 references is provided.
Index Term(s): Abused children; Child abuse; Child protection services; Community-based corrections (juvenile); Diversion programs; Failure factors; Family courts; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Juvenile courts; Juvenile justice reform; Laws and Statutes; Parental rights; Rights of minors
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