The evolution of juvenile delinquency
Five periods of juvenile justice history
In Illinois, for example, a statute mandating transfer for year-olds charged with selling drugs overwhelmingly resulted in adult prosecutions of African American youth Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, Legislatures in turn rushed to pass laws that would respond to the concerns expressed by their constituents to protect the public and punish young offenders. They believed that dysfunctional families were the principal cause of juvenile delinquency. For the more radical magistrates and Home Office advisers, the answer was not to overhaul society, but to reform the ways in which children and young people were treated by the courts. Some states have abolished sentences of life imprisonment without parole altogether for juveniles. MacArthur Foundation launched a year research network to study differences between juveniles and adults relevant to justice policy Mendel, ; John D. This dread also coincided with and gave impetus to the expansion of opportunities for middle- and upper-class women to expand their public roles through philanthropic activities. The Children's Branch was also responsible for monitoring the employment of children, for preventing cruelty to children, as well as for monitoring obscene publications and the trafficking of women and children. The impact of this research in the policy arena has been amplified by recent studies of adolescent brain development that have begun to shed light on the biological underpinnings of some of these psychosocial influences on decision making see Chapter 4. Although these developments did not have an immediate impact, they paved the way for rethinking juvenile justice reform during the first decade of the 21st century. For example, Washington State repealed an automatic transfer law enacted in and narrowed the category of offenses eligible for transfer, 16 and Illinois, as mentioned, abolished a statute mandating adult prosecution of year-olds charged with selling drugs near schools Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, In the s, the Supreme Court made a series of decisions that formalized the juvenile courts and introduce more due process protections such as right to counsel. Leeson also believed that many mothers were unable to supervise their children effectively as their energies were pulled between the demands of war work, queuing for rationed food and necessities, keeping up with domestic duties and anxieties about serving relatives and spouses. The movement attracted other experts - such as the American psychiatrist G.
For example, the Annie E. The s reforms were also challenged on racial justice grounds in the early years of the new century, when it became clear that minority youth received disproportionately harsh treatment in many states.
Development of juvenile justice institutions
This scientific knowledge challenges the core assumption driving the criminalization of juvenile justice policy in the last decades of the 20th century. However, non-delinquents are not only viewed differently but they are also treated separately from delinquents. While boys' clubs could have a preventative role, a similar model was used by probation officers. By the s and s public concern grew about the effectiveness of the juvenile justice system, because of the disparities in treatment that resulted from the absolute discretion of juvenile court judges. The British courts shared much in common with their American counterparts in terms of a belief that the delinquent young needed to be saved in order to protect the wider society. While criminologists and practitioners within youth justice alike have attacked this punitive philosophy 1 , it would be wrong to see the youth court system as having always been castigatory in its tone and methods. By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, states such as California were instituting the most sweeping reforms in the history of the juvenile justice system. There is a struggle to try a find a way to serve the needs of the juvenile delinquents and issue them a punishment for violating the law. Juvenile Court Until the late 19th century, criminal courts tried youth and adults. Feld has crafted a seminal book in the study and interpretation of the juvenile court. Concern for the welfare of the young was nothing new, as many charities, religious bodies and philanthropists had long been active in providing orphanages, schools and medical services to the children of the poor. The 16th century educational reform movement in England that perceived youth to be different from adults, with less than fully developed moral and cognitive capacities, fueled the movement for juvenile justice reform in America. Casey Foundation undertook a national program of alternatives to detention, and in the mids the John D. However, the growth of this interest in the course of the 19th century accompanied increasing anxieties about Britain's position in the world. Therefore, attitudes to how children and young people should be treated varied from court to court, region to region, and even among members of the same bench of magistrates.
MacArthur Foundation, Moreover, they apparently assumed that the interests of society were wholly adverse to those of young offenders, who were portrayed as predators and enemies of society Dilulio, These countries contain advanced technologies, highly-comprehensive policies and economic system.
The current period of reform shares some general objectives with earlier periods, but its perspective on how key goals can best be implemented is importantly influenced by scientific knowledge not available to early reformers—and not deemed relevant to the punitive reformers of the s.
The evolution of juvenile delinquency
During the period of punitive reforms, the category of transfer-eligible youth was expanded substantially to include young adolescents and even children Wagman, For example, the Annie E. In pushing for major legal reform, critics targeted the juvenile court for its ineffectiveness in controlling crime Zimring, These falling crime rates have led many jurisdictions to rethink the punitive juvenile justice practices that became popular in the s and s. The solution to the problem of delinquency was seen as lying within the reformation of the structures which caused these inequities. Cecil Leeson, commissioned by the Howard League to explore this phenomenon, found that the rising crime rate was connected to such role models as fathers, other male relatives, teachers, boys' club leaders and the like being away at the Front. Although the holdings of Roper, Graham, and Miller affect a relatively small category of young offenders, these opinions carry great symbolic importance. One is that the high costs of incarceration-based policies adopted in the s have become increasingly clear, with escalating juvenile justice expenditures straining state budgets across the country Aos, ; Aos et al. Until the Children Act banned the practice, males could still be sentenced to a birching. But the goal of rehabilitation is more closely linked to crime prevention than in the days of the traditional juvenile court. The s reforms were also challenged on racial justice grounds in the early years of the new century, when it became clear that minority youth received disproportionately harsh treatment in many states. Although there were many who clung to older ideas about the benefits of corporal punishment, the view that children and young people who broke the law should be reclaimed and rehabilitated had become the orthodox view by the passing of the Children Act, which maintained the Act and expanded provision for those children looked after by the state. Florida, 14 the Court extended its analysis to the sentence of life without parole for a nonhomicide offense.
They will undoubtedly learn the sad reality of late twentieth-century juvenile justice reforms, and why current policies disproportionately punish impoverished minority youth.
The solution to the problem of delinquency was seen as lying within the reformation of the structures which caused these inequities. During the period of punitive reforms, the category of transfer-eligible youth was expanded substantially to include young adolescents and even children Wagman, As on the other side of the Atlantic, the causes of juvenile delinquency were located in the failure of 'character' and of suitable male role modelling as well as in the failure of the family.
A report commissioned by the Board of Education in argued for a link between the high wages earned by boys in 'blind-alley' labour, the paucity of constructive leisure activities in some areas and higher rates of juvenile crime - again picking up themes expressed by Leeson and other researchers as well as those who had been involved in urban youth work.
These fears were heightened by the poor physical state of conscripts to the Boer Wars at the turn of the century, which in turn prompted the Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on Physical Deterioration.
Why was the juvenile justice system created
At the same time, American cities were confronting high rates of child poverty and neglect putting pressure on city leaders to fashion a solution to this emerging social issue. While criminologists and practitioners within youth justice alike have attacked this punitive philosophy 1 , it would be wrong to see the youth court system as having always been castigatory in its tone and methods. Youth advocates persisted in promoting traditional policies, but in the s researchers and major private foundations also began to challenge the wisdom of criminalizing juvenile justice. The underlying premise of the juvenile court— that juvenile offenders are different from adult criminals and that the justice Page 42 Share Cite Suggested Citation:"2 Historical Context. It seems clear that a lack of confidence in the juvenile court played a key role in exacerbating the fear of juvenile crime and fueling the reforms of this period. Houses of Refuge were large fortress-like congregate style institution located in urban areas for youth designated as abandoned, delinquent or incorrigible. Juvenile Court Until the late 19th century, criminal courts tried youth and adults. Many states also have expanded the range of offenses that can make youth eligible for criminal court adjudication.
By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, states such as California were instituting the most sweeping reforms in the history of the juvenile justice system. A substantial body of research over the past generation see Chapter 4 supports this new understanding of young offenders.
based on 104 review