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Justice for Kids

Justice for Kids: Keeping Kids Out of the Juvenile Justice System

Edited by Nancy E. Dowd
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 323
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  • Book Info
    Justice for Kids
    Book Description:

    Children and youth become involved with the juvenile justice system at a significant rate. While some children move just as quickly out of the system and go on to live productive lives as adults, other children become enmeshed in the system, developing deeper problems and or transferring into the adult criminal justice system. Justice for Kids is a volume of work by leading academics and activists that focuses on ways to intervene at the earliest possible point to rehabilitate and redirect--to keep kids out of the system--rather than to punish and drive kids deeper. Justice for Kids presents a compelling argument for rethinking and restructuring the juvenile justice system as we know it. This unique collection explores the system's fault lines with respect to all children, and focuses in particular on issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation that skew the system. Most importantly, it provides specific program initiatives that offer alternatives to our thinking about prevention and deterrence, with an ultimate focus on keeping kids out of the system altogether.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-2138-4
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction: Justice for Kids
    (pp. 1-18)

    Justice for kids, in the broad sense of meeting their needs, providing them with opportunities to grow, and supporting their families and communities, is rarely achieved by pushing them into the juvenile justice system. It is the contention of this book’s contributors that America’s juvenile justice system doesn’t work: it hurts kids instead of helps them. Accordingly, the best thing we can currently do is keep kids out of the system. Better still, we should reconceptualize the juvenile justice system around children’s needs. A system truly fashioned around the needs of kids has the potential to offer creative and lasting...

  5. PART I System Change

    • 1 Redefining the Footprint of Juvenile Justice in America
      (pp. 21-38)

      Over the past twenty years, we have experienced significant changes in the philosophical underpinnings of the juvenile justice system. Laurie Garduque, of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, argues that this shift represents the beginning of a fourth wave of juvenile justice policy and practice. Prior stages reflect the establishment and growth of a separate court with exclusive jurisdiction over juveniles; waning confidence in that system in the 1950s and 1960s; and the trend to a more punitive approach toward juveniles in the 1980s and early 1990s. This fourth wave is based on the strong and growing body...

    • 2 Delinquency and Daycare
      (pp. 39-61)

      As the nation faces policy challenges over juvenile delinquency and subsequent crime, one all-but-forgotten option remains as promising as ever despite its virtual absence in recent national discussions and debates: a comprehensive daycare and after-school-care policy (Platt 2009; Tanenhaus 2004). For decades, social scientists in this country have examined various designs of early educational and daycare programs, some promising tremendous alterations in the lives of participants and others offering far more modest achievements. Today, however, long-term studies provide a much clearer picture of the way early child care programs and after-school programs offer significant benefits for communities. Longitudinal evidence suggests...

    • 3 Challenging the Overuse of Foster Care and Disrupting the Path to Delinquency and Prison
      (pp. 62-81)

      Foster care is supposed to be a temporary safe haven for abused and neglected children, a place where they are cared for while their parents solve the problems that led to their mistreatment. For many children, foster care undoubtedly serves this function well. However, thousands of children live in foster care for extended periods of time, many leaving care only when they become adults. Recent studies show that for many of these children, foster care is not a safe, nurturing place. Instead, being in care exposes these children to substantial risks of later juvenile delinquency and adult criminal arrest and...

    • 4 Preventing Incarceration through Special Education and Mental Health Collaboration for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
      (pp. 82-106)

      Unfortunately the case of J.D.S. is not unique. Relying on the corrections system to serve as a de facto mental health system in place of more appropriate school– and community-based services is common (Grisso 2008). The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform (2004) reported that in two-thirds of the states, youth with mental disorders are detained even though no criminal charges have been filed. The case of J.D.S. represents a distressing example of our failure to appropriately support youth with severe emotional and behavioral needs.

      The unlawful reliance on the juvenile justice system to supplant appropriate community– and...

    • 5 Looking for Air: Excavating Destructive Educational and Racial Policies to Build Successful School Communities
      (pp. 107-132)

      Americans invest public schools with their most fearsome anxieties and deepest longings for a better life. Our current theories of schooling reflect this great anxiety (Ravitch 2010). The 1960s and 1970s saw a focus on those whose educational opportunities had been denied or diminished by discriminatory policies, including racial segregation. By the 1980s, however, those who viewed the effects of this more inclusive vision of U.S. education as “dumbing down” the educational system demanded a “get tough” approach. Getting tough on education focused on standards, accountability based on standardized testing, and heightened consequences for misbehavior in school. At the same...

  6. PART II Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation

    • 6 The Black Nationalist Cure to Disproportionate Minority Contact
      (pp. 135-156)

      “It takes a village to raise a child.” On this we can all agree. But what happens to the children when a village has been destroyed? Or harmed? If it takes a village to raise a child, then children cannot be raised properly when there is no village to take care of them. Less drastically, if it is fair to suppose that a well-functioning village will produce high-functioning children, then a poorly functioning village will produce poorly functioning children. While children are extremely resilient, even a resilient child has little chance to make it to adulthood without proper attention and...

    • 7 Girl Matters: Unfinished Work
      (pp. 157-179)

      Girls are victims of gender disparities that are pervasive throughout the juvenile justice system. Far too often girls are misunderstood, mislabeled, and inappropriately forced into a juvenile justice system unprepared to address their gender-specific needs. There is an urgent need to critically review the policies and processes that place girls at risk as well as the societal practices that result in disparate treatment of girls (ABA and NBA 2001; Bloom, Owen, and Covington 2005).

      The first national recognition of the need to provide gender-specific services in the juvenile justice system did not occur until 1992 with the reauthorization of the...

    • 8 Supporting Queer Youth
      (pp. 180-198)

      Queer youth¹ cross all racial, ethnic, gender, religious, and class backgrounds. They are children forced from a very young age to cope with environments where victimization and harassment are normative (Ryan 2003). Their sexuality and gender identity often mark them as alien to their families and to society at large. Being perceived as queer sets them apart and makes them targets for neglect, rejection, bullying, and abuse at home and school. This increased risk of victimization compared to their heterosexual peers means queer youth suffer higher rates of homelessness, substance abuse, depression, suicide attempts, and sexual victimization (Rew et al....

  7. PART III Legal Socialization and Policing

    • 9 Deterring Serious and Chronic Offenders: Research Findings and Policy Thoughts from the Pathways to Desistance Study
      (pp. 201-218)

      Deterrence, as traditionally hypothesized, is based upon the logic that criminal sanctions that are certain, severe, and swift will work to increase perceived sanction risk and cost, and in turn reduce criminal activity (Beccaria 1764; Zimring and Hawkins 1973; Andenaes 1974). Offenders’ perceptions of certainty and severity are closely linked to economic and criminological theories of rational choice. A rational would-be offender will engage in crimes that are attractive because the expected rewards will exceed the expected costs (Becker 1968; Cornish and Clarke 1986). The expected costs of crime can be operationalized as an individual’s perception of the severity of...

    • 10 “I Want to Talk to My Mom”: The Role of Parents in Police Interrogation of Juveniles
      (pp. 219-238)

      Throughout childhood, a parent is the most important person in a child’s life. A parent is tasked with teaching, disciplining, nurturing, and protecting her minor child. In essence, a parent is expected to mold the child into a civic-minded adult. When a child first encounters the juvenile justice system and is being questioned by the police about his involvement in an offense, a parent’s role becomes muddled. Many states give a parent the right to be present while her child is being questioned. Some even mandate such participation. However, the ground rules for police interaction with parents during interrogations of...

  8. PART IV Model Programs

    • 11 Moving beyond Exclusion: Integrating Restorative Practices and Impacting School Culture in Denver Public Schools
      (pp. 241-262)

      The practice of restorative justice within schools has emerged as an alternative model to traditional punitive and adversarial processes (Cox 1995; Cameron and Thorsborne 2001). Educators, policy makers, practitioners, and academics have identified restorative justice as both a theoretical and a practical framework by which to develop more balanced responses to occurrences of school-based misbehavior (Braithwaite 2002; Karp and Breslin 2001; Morrison 2001). In contrast to the retributive emphasis of traditional policies, such as zero tolerance, restorative approaches to school discipline focus on repairing the harm, engaging victims, establishing accountability, developing a community, and preventing future actions (Bazemore 1999; Bazemore...

    • 12 The Line of Prevention
      (pp. 263-282)

      The Brotherhood/Sister Sol is a rites of passage–based youth development program that serves children, mostly from the neighborhood of Harlem, in New York City. We offer long-term, comprehensive, and holistic services, surrounding our members with education and developmental programming. We provide support, guidance, and love, as we teach discipline and order. Essential to our process and demonstrated successful outcomes is access to real opportunities that enable our members to develop and grow.

      Much of the national dialogue on juvenile justice focuses on cases in which juveniles have committed atrocious, heinous acts of violence, acts that clearly demand that the...

    • 13 What It Takes to Transform a School inside a Juvenile Justice Facility: The Story of the Maya Angelou Academy
      (pp. 283-306)

      “Do you want to apply to run the school inside Oak Hill?” The question came from Vincent Schiraldi, the new head of Washington, D.C.’ s juvenile justice agency, in November 2006. He wasn’t making any promises—there would be a formal Request for Proposals before any decisions were made—but he wanted to gauge our interest.

      Schiraldi was not a typical juvenile justice administrator. He was a former social worker who had spent the bulk of his career as a critic of the way our nation treats incarcerated youth. Schiraldi understood education’s transformative potential, and one of his first priorities...

  9. About the Contributors
    (pp. 307-310)
  10. Index
    (pp. 311-314)