These juvenile justice standards deal with the choice of disposition within the maxima, as well as with the characteristics of each type of disposition and the situations in which dispositions, once imposed, may be modified.
The standards recommend limiting and structuring the discretion of all officials given authority over delinquent youth. Toward this end, the legislature is given a larger and more specific role in setting maximum dispositions, and courts are given greater authority over the nature and duration of dispositions than is currently the case. One grouping of standards provides criteria to guide courts in exercising their discretion to choose among dispositions that range from outright release to the maximum disposition provided by statute. Under the recommended scheme, the category and duration of a disposition are determined with reference to the seriousness of the offense as modified by the degree of culpability indicated by the circumstances of the case and the age and prior record of the juvenile. Courts are directed to use the least restrictive alternative consistent with these considerations. Another grouping of standards describes the various options available to a sentencing judge, divided into the general categories of nominal, conditional, and custodial dispositions. The standards recognize the obligation of the State to provide services to juveniles under correctional supervision. Where services required as part of a disposition are not or cannot be provided, the court is directed to use an alternative disposition of no greater severity or to discharge the juvenile. Courts, rather than correctional administrators or parole boards, are given the primary responsibility for modifying dispositions. Dissenting views are provided. No bibliography is included. (Author summary modified)
American Bar Association
Date Published: January 1, 1980