Can We Do Without Juvenile Justice?

Research Report

Can We Do Without Juvenile Justice?

May 1, 2000


To satisfy constituent demands for stronger crime policies, elected officials throughout the U.S. are gradually dismantling the juvenile justice system and replacing it with a pseudocriminal system, one that emphasizes mandatory sentences and formal, adversarial procedures. Large portions of the juvenile court's original caseload have already been re-assigned to the criminal court. Is the separate, juvenile justice system still feasible? If not, what can replace it? Policymakers need to confront these questions, and they need innovative answers. New policies should aim for more than simply abolishing the juvenile court's delinquency jurisdiction and sending all young offenders to conventional criminal courts.

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