Juvenile Delinquency in the States

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Juvenile Delinquency in the States Presently, juvenile justice is widely acknowledged as being in a state of flux in the United States. The early 1990s saw the most substantial rise in violent crime committed by juveniles ever experienced in this country. On the heels of decades of skepticism about the effectiveness of parens patriae (the state as parent), this rise was the "proof" for many "experts" who believe that the juvenile justice system should be abolished. These skeptics reason that one criminal court could still have some latitude when sentencing younger offenders, but that kids are now committing adult crimes, so it is time to treat them as adults. Fortunately, this is not the prevailing view. While it is a force in the field, many more "experts" think the juvenile justice system simply needs renovations. Different states treat offenders differently, and some states are role models in the way their juvenile justice systems are managed and executed. Generally, state juvenile delinquency prevention systems were overhauled as a result of the high crime rates in the early 1990s. For my political science Senior Seminar research project, I wanted to look at what factors affected state delinquency rates. I was looking for what effects the reforming (or lack thereof) of these systems has had on the crime committed by juveniles in the states. Working for the Washington, D.C. Public Defender’s Office in the fall of 1995, I witnessed first hand the inadequacies of our legal system with respect to juvenile offenders. I believe that juvenile justice is a worthwhile topic because of its relevance to every member of American society. If we do not help children in trouble today, they will not have the capacity to be functi... ... middle of paper ... ...ick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1996. Krisberg, Barry and James F. Austin. Reinventing Juvenile Justice. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 1993. McGarrell, Edmund F. Juvenile Correctional Reform: Two Decades of Policy and Procedural Change. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1988. Renner, Tari. Statistics Unraveled. Washington, DC: International City Management Association, 1988. Snyder, Howard N. and Melissa Sickmund. Juvenile Offenders and Victims: A National Report. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1996. Torbet, Patricia, et. al. State Responses to Serious and Violent Juvenile Crime. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1996. Van Son, Victoria. CQ’s State Fact Finder: Rankings Across America. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1993.

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