Juvenile Justice in Flux
JUVENILES AT RISK: A PLEA FOR PREVENTIVE JUSTICE, Oxford University Press, Forthcoming
11 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2011 Last revised: 21 Mar 2011
Date Written: March 14, 2011
The current approach to the juvenile crime problem is insufficiently conceptualized and too beholden to myths about youth, the crimes they commit, and effective means of responding to their problems. The currently dominant punitive approach to juvenile justice, modeled on the adult criminal justice system, either ignores or misapplies current knowledge about the causes of juvenile crime and the means of reducing it. We argue that, with some significant adjustments that take this new knowledge into account, the legal system should continue to maintain a separate juvenile court, but one that is preventive in orientation, with a new emphasis on both rehabilitation and flexible procedures. The view that culpability should be the linchpin of juvenile justice (touted by liberals as well as conservatives) is misguided, not only because it leads to unnecessarily harsh punishment but also because it deemphasizes crime-reducing interventions and undermines the case for handling adolescent offenders through a system that is independent of the culpability-based adult system. The currently popular view that adult-type procedures should govern the juvenile process is also open to serious doubt, given social science research that questions the extent to which such procedures promote accuracy and fairness. Chapter 1, which elaborates on the book’s thesis, is provided here.
Keywords: juvenile justice, retribution, rehabilitation, juvenile due process, neuroscience, risk assessment and management, Hendricks, Gault
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