Juvenile Gang Participation and the Juvenile Justice System: Is There a Solution?

25 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2013 Last revised: 2 Dec 2013

See all articles by Matthew Fenn

Matthew Fenn

Fordham University School of Law

Date Written: November 26, 2013


Juvenile involvement in gangs has long been a problem in the United States. However, in the past few decades, juveniles’ participation in gangs has continued to increase despite the fact that violent crime, as a whole, has decreased. The juvenile justice system has been unable to effectively deal with this problem. This essay traces the arc of the juvenile justice system, from its beginnings in the parens patriae doctrine through recent Supreme Court Eighth Amendment decisions, in order to situate the juvenile gang problem in both a historical and modern context. It then addresses empirical evidence of juvenile gang activity in America and examines three different methods for combating the problem. Ultimately, it concludes that the most effective approach to fight juvenile gang affiliation is by aggressive intervention and reformed court supervision that incorporates many of the same therapeutic interventionist methods.

Keywords: gang, gangs, juvenile, juveniles, youth, youths, juvenile gang, juvenile gangs, recidivism, retributivism, parens patriae, intervention, Miller v. Alabama, Roper v. Simmons, Graham v. Florida, In re Gault, Kent v. United States, In re Winship, detention, incarceration, violent crime

Suggested Citation

Fenn, Matthew, Juvenile Gang Participation and the Juvenile Justice System: Is There a Solution? (November 26, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2360657 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2360657

Matthew Fenn (Contact Author)

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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