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Juvenile Justice

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Most juvenile offenders do not go on to commit crime as adults. Most go on to live productive lives. Please give an overview of the history of the juvenile justice movement. Make sure to reference the progressive movement, the advent of juvenile court, the juvenile rights movement, and other pertinent movements within juvenile justice history.

How has the rise of juvenile justice contributed to the welfare of children? Make sure to substantiate your reasons with cited facts.

Your initial post should be at least 250 words in length. Support your claims with examples from the required material(s) and/or other scholarly resources, and properly cite any references.


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10  Chapter 10 Juvenile Justice Learning Objectives © Radius/SuperStock Chapter Outline 10.1 Juvenile Crime and the Advent of Juvenile Justice The Nature of Juvenile Offending and Problem Behavior The Roots of Juvenile Justice and the Changing Conception of Childhood The Child Savers and Periods of Juvenile Justice Reform The Advent of the Juvenile Court The Juvenile Rights Movement Getting Tough 10.2 The Juvenile Justice Process A Broad Overview of the Juvenile Justice Process Juvenile Arrest and Intake Adjudication, Disposition, and Corrections After reading this ­chapter, you should be able to: • Describe the nature of juvenile offending • Describe how our concept of childhood has changed over time • Discuss the advent of the juvenile justice system • Describe the juvenile justice process and identify major Supreme Court cases that influence the juvenile justice system • Identify major areas of concern with the processing of juveniles 10.3 Contemporary Issues In Juvenile Justice Punishment or Rehabilitation Waiver to Adult Court Disproportionate Minority Contact Zero Tolerance and School Resource Officers Do Away With the Juvenile Court? 10.4 Chapter Summary Critical Thinking Questions Key Terms Web Links Juvenile Crime and the Advent of Juvenile Justice Chapter 10 10.1 Juvenile Crime and the Advent of Juvenile Justice The single best predictor of future criminal behavior is past criminal behavior (Wright et al., 2008). Indeed, the vast majority of adults convicted of crimes also committed crimes as juveniles. For many, criminal behavior has been a stable part of their lives from an early age. Moreover, a range of studies also tell us that the age at which a person starts to commit crime, known as age of onset, is an important predictor of future offending. These studies show that when crime starts early in the life course, often before age 12, it is more likely to continue over time and to escalate in seriousness (Nagin & Farrington, 1992). In 2008, over 19,000 youths under age 12 were charged with a person offense, down from a high of over 30,000 in 2001 (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2009). Because criminal behavior can be relatively stable over time and an early age of onset is a potent predictor of future misbehavior, society has a keen interest in the misbehavior of young people (DeLisi, 2006). ▲ Senator Alan Simpson. © Getty Images Yet despite the dire predictions that come from this body of research, it is important to recognize that most juvenile offenders do not go on to commit crime as adults. Instead, most go on to live productive, crimefree lives. This is even true sometimes for youths who have committed relatively serious offenses (Laub & Sampson, 2001). Indeed, you may even know some famous juvenile offenders: • Alan Simpson, Republican congressman from Wyoming: Simpson was a self-described “rebellious” teenager. As a youth, he engaged in arson, assault, vandalism, and reckless endangerment; he was charged with and pled guilty to destruction of federal property. After spending a night in jail for a bar fight, Simpson made the decision to change his life. With help from his probation officer, Simpson would eventually graduate from college and law school and spend time in the U.S. Army. From 1979 through 1997 he served as senator from Wyoming. He has subsequently taught at Harvard and has remained a highly respected and sought after politician. • Mark Wahlberg, actor and singer: Wahlberg reports that as a youth he had many encounters with police and that he belonged to a street gang when he lived in Boston. At age 13, Wahlberg was addicted to drugs; at age 15, he harassed and physically intimidated a group of African American youth; at age 16, using a wooden club, he attacked one Vietnamese man and then another, leaving him blinded. For these assaults, Wahlberg was charged with attempted murder. He pled guilty to assault and was sentenced to 2 years of incarceration. He served 45 days and during that time decided to stop engaging in crime. With the help of a Catholic priest, Wahlberg left his gang and street life and joined his brother’s new band: New Kids on the Block. The rest, as they say, is history. • Charles S. Dutton, actor and director: At age 13 Dutton was sent to reform school, and he spent the next few years in and out of the juvenile justice system. At age 17 he killed another man. Convicted of manslaughter, he was sentenced to 5 years of incarceration. After he was released on parole, police found Dutton in possession of a gun. Authorities then sent him back to prison, where he assaulted a prison guard. For this he was Juvenile Crime and the Advent of Juvenile Justice Chapter 10 sentenced to an additional 8 years of incarceration. Owing to disciplinary problems, Dutton was placed in solitary confinement. Having been allowed only a single book while in solitary, Dutton began to read a book about plays. After his release from solitary, Dutton completed his GED and earned an associate’s degree. He then went on to earn a bachelor of arts degree in theater and started his acting career. Dutton has now been nominated for two Tony Awards for his work in theater and has won an Emmy for his television work. When we examine youthful misbehavior, we are immediately struck by the tremendous variation that exists among youths. Some, for example, are a danger to themselves and to others, and their offending is likely to continue over a very long part of their lives. For many others, however, their offending is relatively nonserious, involving no loss of life and limited financial loss. Their offending is also of limited duration, with most desisting from crime by their late teens. Some criminologists even argue that much adolescent misbehavior is developmentally normal and ▲ Mark Wahlberg. © Getty Images even psychologically and emotionally healthy (Moffitt, 1993). Moreover, what people like Alan Simpson and Charles Dutton show us is that an early life of crime does not always translate into a lifetime of criminal behavior. Individuals who show early signs of behavioral problems can and do sometimes turn their lives around (Laub & Sampson, 2001). How then, given this range of variation, should we best manage, handle, respond to, and treat juveniles who violate the law? This very important task is the responsibility of the juvenile justice system. In the following pages we examine several aspects of juvenile justice. We first examine the nature of juvenile offending. We do so because much is now known about juvenile misbehavior, and this knowledge can be used to help guide juvenile justice policies. We then examine the development of the juvenile justice system and the reasons why a separate justice system—complete with its own laws, policies, and language—was developed. Then we take an in-depth look at system processing and finally turn our sights on contemporary issues faced by the juvenile justice system. The Nature of Juvenile Offending and Problem Behavior Across time, place, and culture, youths have been recognized for their sometimes destructive, violent, and selfish conduct. Take the quotation below: I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint. ▲ Charles Dutton. © Associated Press Juvenile Crime and the Advent of Juvenile Justice Chapter 10 This could have been written at any time in the 20th or 21st century but it was actually penned by Hesiod, the father of Greek didactic poetry, in the 8th century bce. Even the criticisms of young people seem surprisingly contemporary: a lack of self-control, reckless behavior, disrespectfulness, self-importance, and aimlessness. It sometimes seems as though each generation gets a little worse than the one prior, at least if you believe the conventional wisdom. That said, is it really true that today’s youths have less self-control, are involved in more crime and violence, or are substantively different from past generations? Are they really that different? The answers to these questions are complex but are of critical importance for the administration of justice, for at least three reasons: • First, it is critical for juvenile justice administrators and legislators to understand the nature and extent of adolescent problem behavior. Laws and justice policies have been passed that were financially costly and created injustice because they were based on faulty information, incorrect assumptions, or ideological views that were not empirically supported. • Second, understanding data on adolescent problem behavior can help policymakers better respond to, if not prevent, crime committed by youths. Knowing, for example, that most adolescent crime occurs between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. tells local jurisdictions and even parents, to dedicate more resources during those hours. • Third, the juvenile justice system has a long history of employing interventions that not only did not work to reduce adolescent problem behavior but likely increased such misbehavior. Indeed, much of what has been done to address juvenile problem behavior has been ineffective or worse, sacrificing both public safety and the potential quality of life of many adolescents. About 15 percent of all arrests involve juveniles. The graph shown in Figure 10.1 reveals that juveniles also account for 16 percent of all arrests for violent crime and 26 percent of all arrests for property crimes. Looking at specific crimes, the data also show that juveniles are predominately arrested for arson (47%) and vandalism (38%). When we examine other, more serious crimes, we find that juveniles account for 27 percent of all robberies, 25 percent of car thefts, and only 10 percent of all murders. In terms of demographics, Black juveniles are seriously overrepresented in juvenile arrest statistics. As shown in Table 10.1, Black juveniles were arrested in 58 percent of all homicides, 67 percent of all robberies, and 42 percent of all aggravated assaults. Moreover, as shown in Figures 10.2 and 10.3, males are arrested more frequently than females. Males, for example, account for almost 70 percent of all juvenile arrests, over 80 percent of all arrests for violent crimes, and over 60 percent of arrests for property crimes. Males are also arrested at higher proportions than females for virtually every other offense. The only crimes where females are more similar in percentage of arrests are larceny-theft and liquor law violations. However, females are more likely to be arrested for running away from home. Official data paint one picture of adolescent crime. However, many delinquent acts do not come to the attention of the police. When we examine adolescent self-reports of delinquency, a slightly different picture emerges. Delinquency appears to be widespread, with a majority of adolescents reporting engaging in minor forms of delinquency, such as staying out past curfew, underage drinking, cheating on school tests, and low-level theft. These same studies, however, also tell us that a minority of youthful offenders will engage in serious misbehavior and will do so through adolescence and into adulthood. Moffitt (1993) recognized that there may be two groups of Juvenile Crime and the Advent of Juvenile Justice Chapter 10 15% Total 16% Violent Crime Index 26% Property Crime Index 47% Arson 38% Vandalism Disorderly conduct 27% Robbery 27% Burglary 27% Larceny-theft 26% Motor vehicle theft 25% 22% Weapons 21% Liquor laws 19% Stolen property Sex offense 18% Other assaults 18% 15% Forcible rape 13% Aggravated assault 11% Drug abuse violations 10% Murder Offenses against the family 5% Fraud 3% Drunkenness 3% Prostitution Driving under the influence 0% 2% 1% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Percent of arrests involving juveniles Figure 10.1: of2008 Arrests Involving Juveniles Data source: CrimePercentage in the United States (Washington, DC: Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2009), table 38. In 2008, juveniles were involved in 1 in 10 arrests for murder and about 1 in 4 arrests for robbery, f10.01_CRJ20 burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Source: Adapted from Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2009). Crime in the 36p x 37p8 United States 2008. Washington, DC: FBI. adolescent offenders when she created her dual typology of youthful offenders. The first group includes the vast majority of juveniles who commit delinquent acts but show no other signs of serious maladjustment. She labels these adolescent-limited offenders. They engage in minor forms of delinquency, including cheating on tests, staying out past their curfews, drinking alcohol, and low-level theft. They typically desist from problem behaviors shortly after high school or at least by their early twenties. Moffit argues that minor forms of misbehavior are part of growing up and represent the efforts of adolescents to create a social identity. This information relates to juvenile justice in important ways. First, because much adolescent misbehavior is normal, many youths who are apprehended and even detained are not serious, Juvenile Crime and the Advent of Juvenile Justice Chapter 10 Table 10.1 Proportion of Juvenile Arrests Involving Black Youth Most Serious Offense Black Proportion of Juvenile Arrests in 2008 Murder 58% Forcible rape 37% Robbery 67% Aggravated assault 42% Simple assault 39% Burglary 35% Larceny-theft 31% Motor vehicle theft 45% Weapons 38% Drug abuse violations 27% Vandalism 19% Liquor laws 6% Adapted from Crime in the United States 2008 (Washington, DC: Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2009) 120 Females Males 100 80 60 40 20 0 Total Violent crime index Property crime index Nonindex Figure 10.2: Percentage of Juvenile Crimes Committed by Males and Females Males commit more crimes than females. Source: Adapted from Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2009). Crime in the United f10.03_CRJ201 States 2008. Washington, DC: FBI. 36p x 24p9 Juvenile Crime and the Advent of Juvenile Justice Chapter 10 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Larcenytheft Females Vandalism Drug abuse violations Liquor laws Disorderly conduct Curfew and loitering Runaways Males Figure 10.3: Percentage of Less Serious Juvenile Crimes Committed by Males and Females Males committed far more “less serious” crimes than women, although there were slightly more f10.04_CRJ201 female runaways than males. Source: Adapted from Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2009). Crime in the United States 2008. 36p x 27p10 Washington, DC: FBI. persistent offenders. They are, instead, normal adolescents undergoing the process of maturation. Juvenile justice officials and policy makers usually recognize this fact, which explains why juvenile offenders are frequently diverted from the juvenile justice system and are most often managed through the least restrictive mechanism—usually probation. Second, because their behavior usually occurs for a limited time, many juveniles will not continue to commit crime and most will never go on to commit serious crime. A balance has to be struck between ensuring juvenile accountability and overreacting to juvenile problem behavior. As we discussed in Chapter 9, evidence shows that placing low-risk youths with high-risk youths can increase their recidivism (Lowenkamp & Latessa, 2004). Outside of the adolescent-limited group, however, is a smaller group of juvenile offenders who do have to be taken seriously. Moffitt (1993) labels these life-course persistent (LCP) offenders. She notes that LCP offenders show signs of serious behavioral problems very early in life—­ usually well before the onset of puberty—and constitute only 3 to 5 percent of any cohort of adolescents. Their problem behavior is caused by neuropsychological deficits that reduce their ability to control their impulses and by parents who fail to provide a disciplined, stable, nurturing home environment. Generally the offending of these youths tends to escalate in adolescence, when they begin to commit relatively serious crimes. They will, moreover, continue to Juvenile Crime and the Advent of Juvenile Justice Chapter 10 commit crimes well into adulthood. Discerning who is and is not an LCP offender is difficult in dealing with adolescents, but the use of risk-assessment instruments can help. The Roots of Juvenile Justice and the Changing Conception of Childhood Historically, there has been some debate about how cultures have understood childhood. In ancient Roman society, for example, the father exercised total control over his children. Childhood in ancient Rome was more closely linked to the social status of the family rather than being thought of as a separate part of the life course. Children from elite families, for example, would attend school, while those from poor families would be put to work as soon as they were physically able. Children who committed crimes could be treated just like adults. Ancient Rome, like the societies that were to follow, eventually established an age of responsibility. Children below the age of 7 were not viewed as responsible for their behavior. As for those between the ages of 7 and 14, magistrates or judges looked to see if they understood the nature and gravity of their actions and based punishments on those perceptions. After age 14, however, young people would receive the same punishment as adults, including execution. With the fall of Rome came the Dark Ages, a rather chaotic period. Warfare was widespread, frequent, and often based on religious differences, the plague and other diseases decimated entire populations, and budding nations and states ruled with little regard for the rights of their citizens. Life was, according to Locke (1651), “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Yet out of the Dark Ages emerged truly powerful, stable, nation states. England was one of these, and it is from England that the United States was to borrow many of its customs, ideas, and legal principles. During the feudal period in England, families were allowed to live on lands owned by noblemen. As soon ▲ In feudal England, children worked in the fields as they were capable, very young children were put to as soon as they were able. © Associated Press work tilling fields, picking up rocks, or helping with other duties. These families paid taxes to the landowners and were subject to their rules. Moreover, if the parents died or were unable to care for their children, the children could be removed from the land. In response to the growing number of parentless children, the English king passed a series of laws, known as poor laws, which gave certain individuals, usually clergy, the legal right to make decisions for poor, abandoned, or misbehaving youths. They could place these youths with other families, which were supposed to train these youths for gainful work. Children in these situations were indentured servants. The family provided all necessities, such as food, and in return received the child’s labor. Children could also be placed in workhouses, where they would labor or be taught a skill and remain until they reached adulthood. Since the political and economic system of feudal England hinged on the ownership of land, it became a priority to make sure that the property rights of children with aff luent parents Juvenile Crime and the Advent of Juvenile Justice Chapter 10 were protected. When wealthy landowners could not or would not take care of their children, they came under the jurisdiction of chancery courts. These courts were charged with protecting the property rights of wealthy children and were charged with mak ...
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