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History of the Juvenile Justice System

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This paper will discuss the history of the juvenile justice system and how it has come to be what it is today. When a juvenile offender commits a crime and is sentenced to jail or reform school, the offender goes to a separate jail or reforming place than an adult. It hasn’t always been this way. Until the early 1800’s juveniles were tried just like everyone else. Today, that is not the case. This paper will explain the reforms that have taken place within the criminal justice system that developed the juvenile justice system.

Before the Progressive Era, children who were over the age of seven were put in jail with adults. In the early part of the 1800’s reformers started to become concerned with the overcrowded environment in the jails and prisons, and the corruption young kids were experiencing when locked up with adult prisoners. The Progressives in the late nineteenth century started to push for universal reform in the criminal justice system (Myers, 2008). The Progressives looked to move away from the penalizing aspect and more towards a rehabilitative system, with regard to the rectification of delinquent children and adolescents. A specific group of Progressives, called the "child savers," focused the majority of their attention on finding and curing the causes of juvenile delinquent behavior. The child savers group viewed the juvenile offenders as adolescents in need of care and direction, not punishment (Myers, 2008). In In re Gault (1967), Justice Fortas summed up the views of the child savers: “The early reformers were horrified by adult procedures and penalties, and by the fact that children could be given long prison sentences and thrown in jails with toughened criminals. They were overwhelmingly convinced that so...

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...rt?: Retributive versus rehabilitative systems of justice. California Law Review, 97(4), 1107-1170. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

In Re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967).

Johnson, K., Lanza-Kaduce, L., & Woolard, J. (2011). Disregarding graduated treatment: Why transfer aggravates recidivism. Crime & Delinquency, 57(5), 756-777. doi:10.1177/0011128708328867

Klein, Eric K. (2011) "Dennis the menace or billy the kid: An analysis of the role of transfer to criminal court in juvenile justice." American Criminal Law Review Winter 1998: 371- 410. Retrieved from Academic OneFile.

Myers, J. B. (2008). A Short History of Child Protection in America. Family Law Quarterly, 42(3), 449-463. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Rodriguez, P. F., & Baille, D. M. (2010). Reforming Our Expectations About Juvenile Justice. Reclaiming Children & Youth, 19(2), 43-46. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
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