Crime and Juvenile Justice

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Throughout history the American juvenile justice system has changed focus in attempts to provide an efficient system. Additionally, these changes have influenced the concept of punishment by replacing it with different methods such as rehabilitation. According to the text, American Corrections by Todd R. Clear, George F. Cole, and Michael D. Reisig, the juvenile justice system is characterized by five time periods. The first time period is referred to as the Puritan Period. Between 1646 and 1824, misbehaved children who didn’t obey their parents would be considered evil and have to deal with the law. During the Refuge Period between 1824 and 1899, institutes were created to provide good work, study habits, and discipline to children. These refugee camps soon became to resemble adult prisons and portrayed little impact. By the end of the 1800’s reformers decided to find alternate ways to deal with children. In this case the first modern juvenile justice system was created. The Juvenile Court Period took place between 1899 and 1960. During this time, the first juvenile court was established. According to the text, “decisions about the juvenile’s fate were linked less to guilt or innocence and more to the ‘best interests’ of the child” (Clear, Cole and Reisig, 2011, p.474). The court was mostly based on informality, individualization, and intervention. In all this informal method was found to be ineffective because laws were imposed in ways that did not interest the children. Additionally, the Juvenile Right Period between 1960 and 1980, a rally took place which convinced the United States Supreme Court to provide most of the due process rights to juveniles which also applied to adults. The Crime Control Period began in 1980 and is currently present. In theory, “the justice system treats juveniles differently from adults by placing less emphasis on punishment and individualized treatment” (Clear, Cole and Reisig, 2011, p.476). The idea is that juveniles are...
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