0: Juvenile Justice
In this section, you will be introduced to juvenile justice. This section is designed to be a broad overview of the
juvenile court system, to examine the pros and cons of the juvenile justice system, examine the various stages in the
juvenile justice system, and discuss contemporary issues facing juvenile justice. After reading this section, students
will be able to:
• Summarize the history and purpose of the juvenile court
• Explain the pros and cons of the juvenile justice system.
• Briefly examine the stages of the juvenile justice system
• Examine the reasons supporting and criticizing the process of waiver to adult court
• Explain how due process has evolved through the juvenile court.
Critical Thinking Questions
1. What impact did the child savers have on juvenile justice reform?
2. Explain how due process has been used throughout the history of the juvenile justice system.
3. How has the juvenile justice system evolved since it was created?
4. What are the different types of waiver?
5. What four areas changed the juvenile court?
10.1. Youth Crime
ALISON S. BURKE
Since the early 1990s, America has witnessed an increase in the fear of youth crime. 1 Sensationalized media
exposure in the 1990s facilitated the public’s fear of youth crime, which resulted in get tough legislation and a
perceived need to “do something” about juvenile crime. 2 The juvenile court was criticized for its inability to
control youth crime and, as a result, policies shifted from rehabilitation to punishment of juvenile offenders.
3 This punishment included an increase in the number of states that adopted new legislation or revised their
previous statutes to facilitate the transfer of youthful offenders from juvenile court to criminal court to be
tried as adults. 4
Ted Talks: Jeffrey Brown An architect of the “Boston miracle,” Rev. Jeffrey Brown started out as a
bewildered young pastor watching his Boston neighborhood fall apart around him, as drugs and gang
violence took hold of the kids on the streets. The first step to recovery: Listen to those kids don’t
just preach to them and help them reduce violence in their own neighborhoods. It’s a powerful talk
about listening to make a change. https://www.ted.com/talks/
1. Benekos, P., & Merlo, A. (2004). Controversies in juvenile justice and delinquency. Anderson Publishing.
2. Myers, D.L. (2001). Excluding violent youth from the juvenile court: The effectiveness of legislative waiver.New York: LBF Scholarly Press.
3. Feld, B.C. (2001). Race, youth violence, and the changing jurisprudence of waiver. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 19(1), 3-22.
4. Snyder, H. N., & Sickmund, M. (2006). Juvenile offenders and victims: 2006 National Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of
Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
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