The juvenile justice system in the United States has become a detrimental rather than a remedial experience, one that often reinforces youths' defiance of authority. Trying juveniles as adults, overcrowding juvenile detention facilities, and other factors have led to the deterioration of a system whose original intent was to protect immature youngsters who might get arrested for truancy or joyriding. The present system is ill equipped to cope with today's children who may be arrested for violent crimes such as rape and murder. This has led to an intense pessimism. Balancing Juvenile Justice, now in an expanded, revised edition, is a comprehensive discussion of the primary considerations policymakers should use in striking a balance between holding youths responsible for past behavior, and providing services and opportunities so that their future behavior will be guided by constructive, rather than destructive, forces.
The topics covered include: trends in philosophy and politics; a review of state and local reforms in juvenile justice; the changing role of the juvenile court; development of a balanced continuum of correctional programs; and strategies for reform. The authors emphasize that while juvenile offenders should pay for their crimes, it is equally urgent to realize that adult neglect, abuse, rescinding needed resources, and stigmatizing of youth will only ensure that crime and criminal justice become permanent distinguishing features of the United States.
This new edition of Balancing Juvenile Justice will be compelling reading for sociologists, criminologists, juvenile justice practitioners, and policymakers.