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Youth, Crime, and Justice

Youth, Crime, and Justice: A Global Inquiry

Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Youth, Crime, and Justice
    Book Description:

    Close to half of the world's population is below the age of criminal jurisdiction in most countries. Many of these young people are living in poverty and under totalitarian regimes. Given their deprived and often abject circumstances, it is not surprising that many of them become involved in crime.

    InYouth, Crime, and Justice, Clayton A. Hartjen provides a broad overview of juvenile delinquency: how it manifests itself around the world and how societies respond to misconduct among their children. Taking a global, rather than country-specific approach, chapters focus on topics that range from juvenile laws and the correction of child offenders to the abuse, exploitation, and victimization of young people. Hartjen includes specific examples from the United States, Australia, Spain, Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan, India, Egypt, and elsewhere as he sorts through the various definitions of "delinquent" and explores the differences in behavior that contribute to these classifications. Most importantly, his in-depth and comparative look at judicial systems worldwide raises questions about how young offenders should be "corrected" and how much fault can be laid on misbehaving youths acting out against the very societies that produced them.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-4497-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xxii)

    This volume provides a summary and assessment of criminological research on youth crime and juvenile justice that has been carried out in countries around the world. My purpose in doing so is threefold. First, by drawing upon a wide range of criminological research and data from diverse societies, I hope to provide a global, as opposed to a country-specific, portrait of the misbehavior and victimization of young people and how different societies respond to problems concerning their young. Second, global inquiry can advance criminological knowledge by not only increasing our database but also providing a forum for testing theory, refining...

  6. 1 Law
    (pp. 1-22)

    All human societies recognize generational distinctions among persons of varying ages. Typically, elders are venerated and excused from full community participation. Other adults are expected to participate in the activities of the tribe, clan, or community and are accorded the power and authority of their maturity and position. Children, or young members, are expected to be deferential to their elders, to acquire the skills and knowledge deemed necessary for future adult participation, and, to a more or less limited extent, contribute to the well-being of the group. Usually, the transitions between the generational stages recognized by the group are marked...

  7. 2 Explaining Delinquent Acts
    (pp. 23-35)

    Perhaps the most frequently asked question in criminology, and by the public at large, is “Why do they do it?” The amount of criminological research and speculation regarding the causes of crime and delinquent behavior would probably fill a small library and would take the life work of any one person to read and digest. Much of this inquiry is highly repetitive, testing or disputing tests of one or more aspect of a handful of criminological theories. The bulk of this research has been conducted on samples of American youths, with a handful of studies carried out in other countries,...

  8. 3 The Global Extent and Distribution of Delinquency
    (pp. 36-61)

    How much delinquency exists in the world? This and a host of similar questions refer to the epidemiology (as opposed to the etiology) of delinquent behavior—the frequency, changes in, and relative distribution of delinquent behavior across and within populations.

    Delinquent behavior is probably universal. What may vary, however, is how many youths in various societies commit such behavior, how often they do it, and what kinds of misconduct they engage in. Assessing these facts is a task that criminologists and the world’s societies have yet to seriously grapple with. Explaining differences and similarities in the behavior of juveniles across...

  9. 4 Forms of Delinquent Behavior
    (pp. 62-83)

    Research on rates of delinquency and youth crime suggests that the frequency and distribution of such behavior varies across the globe. However, this research also suggests that all youth everywhere seem to engage in forms of behavior normally frowned upon by adults and for which young people could be subject to official sanctioning. In that respect, delinquency and youth crime are universal. But, is such conduct universally the same?

    An answer to that important, yet so far largely neglected, question has profound implications. If youth everywhere engage in much the same kinds of behavior in much the same way, even...

  10. 5 Justice for Juveniles
    (pp. 84-97)

    With the creation of the first fully recognized separate system of justice for juveniles in Cook County, Illinois, at the turn of the twentieth century in the United States, what many saw as a revolution took place in how juveniles accused of misconduct were treated (Bartollas 1996; Bensinger 1991; Platt 1969; Sussman 1959). The legislation that established this first juvenile court clearly articulated that the main purpose of juvenile justice was the welfare, not the punishment, of young offenders. To do this it stipulated an entirely separate judicial/correctional system specifically designed to address the needs, as opposed to behavior, of...

  11. 6 Processing the Offender
    (pp. 98-116)

    Some societies have created distinct laws and bureaucracies for dealing with juveniles. Others make legal distinctions between juveniles and adults but lack designated actors or apparatus for processing youths. In yet other societies, juveniles are legally, at least in formal practice, the equivalent of adults. Furthermore, for a large number of countries there is no information whatsoever on their legal/processing systems, many of which probably have no distinctive juvenile justice system.

    Information on countries that have recognizable systems for dealing with needy and delinquent youths indicates that how they are processed varies across the globe. These countries share the common...

  12. 7 Correcting Juveniles
    (pp. 117-138)

    The most perplexing question facing any system of juvenile justice is what to do with young people who have been adjudicated offenders or found to be in some kind of pre-offending situation. In most societies considerable effort is expended in diverting youths who could be labeled delinquents from being so adjudicated. Often this involves requiring the youth to participate in a program or to submit to a life-changing adjustment (e.g., foster care) or face the prospect of further processing. More often this diversion activity simply consists of the juvenile being initially contacted by authorities (police questioning, intake office screening, etc.),...

  13. 8 Children as Victims
    (pp. 139-160)

    As with crime and delinquency generally, the victimization of young people in many of the world’s societies remains little investigated by criminologists. Victimization is an exceedingly difficult subject to study scientifically or to even investigate in any systematic way. Nevertheless, scholars from a number of other disciplines have done considerable work in this area, and scientific journals exist that are explicitly dedicated to the subject. The information that has been gathered suggests that all manner of child victimization is both prevalent and universal among the world’s societies. Moreover, victimization surveys and other data reveal that young people are the victims...

  14. 9 Some Concluding Observations
    (pp. 161-168)

    It is quite possible that criminology already has all the information it needs to understand and explain youthful misconduct everywhere and to help establish just and effective mechanisms to deal with offending and needy youth in all cultures and social systems. We may not yet realize this or know how to act on the basis of our knowledge. But, if so, expanding the present scope of criminological inquiry to other cultures and social systems would be, if not a waste of time, a mere academic exercise.

    Criminological knowledge of youth crime and justice, although extensive, is simply too limited and...

    (pp. 169-192)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 193-198)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 199-200)