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NCJ Number: 99098 Find in a Library
Title: Juvenile Court and Social Welfare - Dynamics of Progressive Reform
Journal: Law and Society Review  Volume:19  Issue:1  Dated:(1985)  Pages:107-145
Author(s): J R Sutton
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 39
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This historical analysis of the juvenile court movement examines statutes and data on the nationwide diffusion of the juvenile court system to suggest that the Chicago juvenile court was invented as a means to protect the Illinois child-saving system from threats to its existence stemming from public skepticism of custodial institutions for children and legal access to their juvenile clientele.
Abstract: The new court was an institutional compromise that drew on legal norms to provide a buffer legitimacy within which discretionary social control activities based on a medical model of deviancy could be continued. An examination of econometric and institutional data provides support for the argument that charity organizations helped standardize the normative structure of the juvenile court and propagated it throughout the Nation. Other States adopted it through a process of institutional modeling. Outside of Illinois, the juvenile court did not spread as an instrumental response to social disorganization, social movement power, or juvenile crime, but rather as a symbol of commitment to inoffensive progressivism and to a vague array of child welfare objectives. By viewing the juvenile court as a strategic administrative reform designed to legitimize the child-saving practices of the 19th century, rather than as a substantive legal reform, it is possible to see the relationship of the court movement to progressivism with its trends toward bureaucratization and a general transfer of legal authority to other institutional areas of government. Tables and 63 references are included.
Index Term(s): Child welfare; History of juvenile justice; Illinois; Juvenile courts; Juvenile justice reform; Social control
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