Temple University and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice
Paper presented as a part of a Congressional Research Briefing entitled “Juvenile Crime: Causes and Consequences,” Washington, January 19, 2000. Address correspondence to the author at the Department of Psychology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122, or at email@example.com.
I'd like to talk today about recent changes in juvenile justice policy that are being implemented despite a full consideration of what research on child development has to say about the wisdom of these changes. The changes that I am referring to are those that are resulting in more and more juvenile offenders being prosecuted and sentenced as if they were adults. I am interested in this both as someone who studies adolescent development and as the Director of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice. This is a national initiative examining how knowledge about adolescent development can inform policy-making and practice in the justice system. Let me say a few words about the Network and its current activities. Let me frame the issue in historical terms for those of you not familiar with American juvenile justice policy. The existence of a separate justice system within which offenders who have not yet reached the age of majority are adjudicated, sanctioned, and rehabilitated is predicated on the premise that there are significant psychological differences between adolescents and adults, and that these differences are provoked by the normal process of development, age-related, and legally relevant. For the past 100 years in the United States, the acceptance of this premise has guided juvenile justice policy and maintained a jurisdictional boundary between juvenile and... [continues]
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