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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78315 Find in a Library
Title: Child Savers - Juvenile Justice Observed
Author(s): P A Prescott
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 250
Sponsoring Agency: John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
New York, NY 10016
Random House
New York, NY 10019
Sale Source: Random House
1745 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on personal observation of the New York Family Court (which handles all cases involving minors under the age of 16), this book reveals the intractable problems of the New York juvenile justice system.
Abstract: The book centers on the process of justice as it is applied (or misapplied) to children, rather than on causes and solutions to juvenile crime. Judges, prosecuting and defending attorneys, social workers, and the children charged with a delinquent act, as well as the families, witnesses, and victims are the principal actors in the court. The book reveals the endemic conflicts between judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys, and the ongoing antagonisms between various departments which lead to noncooperation and unnecessary delays. A case of murder illustrates New York's juvenile justice laws and procedure. The narrative, which includes courtroom dialogue, describes the persons involved, the courtroom setting, and the often excruciatingly slow process of reaching a decision in a case. Individual chapters trace the history of the Family Court from its origins in England's chancery courts to the present American system; show just how poorly the system can work, specifically, in the old Bronx Family Court; and follow poignant cases of child abuse and neglect. The experiences of a single law guardian (a lawyer who represents indigent children) are traced through various cases, and the brutal treatment afforded children in institutions outside the court is examined. Specific reference is made to several crucial U.S. Supreme Court decisions involving juveniles, including In Re Gault, In Re Winship, and McKeiver v. Pennsylvania. In addition, the effects of the New York Legislature's Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 1976 and the Juvenile Offender Law of 1978 are discussed. The book also analyzes the disorder created by the family court system of rotating judges from one part to another, and from one county to the next. Numerous cases involving abuse and neglect, PINS (persons in need of supervision), and juvenile delinquency illustrate the close relationship between brain damage, child abuse and/or neglect, and subsequent juvenile delinquency. Moreover, these cases vividly show the inadequate treatment facilities available for helping the children not already totally lost.
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Defense counsel; Family courts; Interagency cooperation; Judges; Judicial decisions; Judicial discretion; Juvenile court procedures; Juvenile court trends; Juvenile courts; Juvenile dependency and neglect; Juvenile detention; Juvenile foster homes; Juvenile justice system; Legal aid services; New York; Policy analysis; Prosecutors; Residential child care institutions; Rights of minors; Ungovernable juveniles; US Supreme Court
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