Choosing the Future for American Juvenile Justice

Choosing the Future for American Juvenile Justice

Franklin E. Zimring
David S. Tanenhaus
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Choosing the Future for American Juvenile Justice
    Book Description:

    This is a hopeful but complicated era for those with ambitions to reform the juvenile courts and youth-serving public institutions in the United States. As advocates plea for major reforms, many fear the public backlash in making dramatic changes.Choosing the Future for American Juvenile Justiceprovides a look at the recent trends in juvenile justice as well as suggestions for reforms and policy changes in the future. Should youth be treated as adults when they break the law? How can youth be deterred from crime? What factors should be considered in how youth are punished?What role should the police have in schools?This essential volume, edited by two of the leading scholars on juvenile justice, and with contributors who are among the key experts on each issue, the volume focuses on the most pressing issues of the day: the impact of neuroscience on our understanding of brain development and subsequent sentencing, the relationship of schools and the police, the issue of the school-to-prison pipeline, the impact of immigration, the privacy of juvenile records, and the need for national policies - including registration requirements--for juvenile sex offenders.Choosing the Future for American Juvenile Justiceis not only a timely collection, based on the most current research, but also a forward-thinking volume that anticipates the needs for substantive and future changes in juvenile justice.

    eISBN: 978-1-4798-6340-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    The juvenile court and the system of juvenile justice that it produced was invented in Illinois in 1899 and is now 115 years old. While it is the youngest of the major institutions of Anglo-American law, it has also become the most popular. There are juvenile courts in all 50 American states and in almost all the nations of the modern world.

    But while the mission of the court is universally popular, the moving parts of juvenile justice in the United States have been changing almost from the beginning. The basic principles of the court in 2014 still reflect the...

    • 1 American Youth Violence: A Cautionary Tale
      (pp. 7-36)

      A volume on reforms in juvenile justice presents its opening chapter on American youth violence for two reasons. First, concerns about youth violence had been driving the wave of state penal legislation in the 1990s. Second, youth violence because of its extremity is an obvious priority for citizen concern. Acts of life-threatening violence by young persons are important and troublesome events in developed nations for a variety of reasons—they are the most serious crimes young persons commit, and they test the degree to which legal principles can mitigate penal responses; they happen at the beginning of social and criminal...

    • 2 The Power Politics of Juvenile Court Transfer in the 1990s
      (pp. 37-52)

      The boundary between the juvenile court’s delinquency jurisdiction and the criminal process should be one of those obvious fault lines between sharply different approaches to the same sort of problems that provoke analysis and debate in courts, in the academy, and in state legislatures. What are and what should be the differences in emphasis between a court for 17-year-old burglars and one that claims jurisdiction for those with identical charges but earlier dates of birth (Zimring 1998, ch. 5)? The discussion of what justifies separate treatment for adolescent offenders should be an important and jurisprudentially thick discourse, but it’s not....

    • 3 Juvenile Sexual Offenders
      (pp. 55-93)

      The state interest in reducing sexual violence in society is both appropriate and honorable. The rate of violence in a society is arguably an appropriate proxy for the degree of civility in a society. However, to achieve the end of producing a more civil society, public policies must be effective at reducing the form of violence they target. When a society implements policies that infringe the civil liberties of a designated subgroup in exchange for a public good, this bargain can only produce a more civil society if the policies are effective at achieving that public good. If the policies...

    • 4 The School-to-Prison Pipeline: Rhetoric and Reality
      (pp. 94-119)

      Schools are an important and often overlooked site for studying children’s introductions to the juvenile justice system. Schools teach behavioral norms and expectations, and they establish credentials for future academic and professional endeavors, both of which can shape the likelihood that youth become involved with the justice system. Schools are the first social institution outside of the family in which the vast majority of youth spend significant time, and the first institution in which most youth have an opportunity to be marked as failures, criminals, or deviants.

      There are at least three ways in which a child’s introduction to the...

    • 5 Education behind Bars? The Promise of the Maya Angelou Academy
      (pp. 120-129)

      The theme of our conference is choosing the future of juvenile justice. In my talk I will argue that as we choose that future, education must be at the center of our efforts. I believe this is the only way we will create a juvenile justice system that serves the needs of young people and ensures safe, vibrant communities.

      I should begin with some good news. We stand at a moment of positive change in American juvenile justice. Overall crime is declining, juvenile crime is going down, and the number of youth held in custody is also dropping fast.


    • 6 A Tale of Two Systems: Juvenile Justice System Choices and Their Impact on Young Immigrants
      (pp. 130-148)

      Decisions and actions in juvenile justice systems across the United States serve as de facto immigration decisions every day. But juvenile justice and immigration are not the two systems referenced in the title of this chapter. When immigrant youth are involved with law enforcement and juvenile justice, subsequent interactions with immigration authorities are common. The immigration repercussions that flow from immigrant youth involvement with juvenile systems, however, are largely determined by choices that juvenile justice systems make about the treatment of immigrant youth. Rigid immigration laws and enforcement practices react to the outcomes of juvenile justice system involvement by noncitizen...

    • 7 Juvenile Criminal Record Confidentiality
      (pp. 149-168)

      This chapter examines juvenile criminal records, an important but understudied topic in the history of American juvenile justice. Beginning with an analysis of the theory and uneven practice of keeping juvenile police and court records confidential from the early 1900s to the 1960s, the chapter then examines recent trends that have further eroded confidentiality and increased the collateral consequences for juveniles. The chapter next traces the role of the police and juvenile arrest records in this history before analyzing how the information technology revolution complicates matters. The conclusion focuses on the fundamental principles that should guide sensible policy making in...

    • 8 Minority Overrepresentation: On Causes and Partial Cures
      (pp. 169-186)

      The overrepresentation of disadvantaged racial and ethnic minorities in the courtrooms and detention cells of American juvenile justice is both an undeniable fact and a serious problem. Throughout the world, the poor and disadvantaged get caught up in the machinery of social control in numbers far greater than their share of the population. In the United States, the long shadow of racism adds another important dimension to concern about young persons already at serious disadvantage. Punishment and stigma make a bad situation worse. What to do?

      The issues we confront in trying to fix the damages of disproportion in juvenile...

    • 9 The Once and Future Juvenile Brain
      (pp. 189-215)

      From the comfortable perch of a decade out, it seems clear that twentieth-century juvenile justice passed through three distinct eras.¹ The founding era, often referred to by reference to the rehabilitative ideal by which it was motivated and shaped, began at the century’s turn (Tanenhaus, 2004). Its quickly proliferating systems of separate adjudication and sanction for minors were left relatively to their own devices until the 1960s, when the court-driven revolution that was transforming adult criminal procedure took children under its wing. This due process era was highlighted not only by blockbuster cases likeIn re Gault(1967), but also...

    • 10 On Strategy and Tactics for Contemporary Reforms
      (pp. 216-234)

      The previous chapters have produced a persuasively argued agenda for changes in laws and institutions that will reduce many burdens of adolescent development and improve the life chances of the adults our children become. The shopping list for change is easy to construct:

      The 1990s shift toward prosecutorial dominance and administrative control of transfer to criminal court should be reversed.

      Secondary schools should be demilitarized, and educational reentry programs and opportunities should be as much an emphasis as dropout prevention.

      Juvenile courts can best serve educational goals for high-risk youth by using sanction policies that keep kids in communities and...

    (pp. 235-238)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 239-248)