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Can the Courts Fairly Account for the Diminished Competence and Culpability of Juveniles? A Judge's Perspective (From Youth on Trial: A Developmental Perspective on Juvenile Justice, P 403-434, 2000, Thomas Grisso and Robert G. Schwartz, eds.)

NCJ Number
Gary L. Crippen
Date Published
32 pages
A former juvenile court judge examines the relevant research and suggests ways in which the existence of the juvenile court recognizes that adolescents are less culpable than adults.
The juvenile court was established in the belief that juveniles must be managed differently from adults when their behavior violates the law. Subsequent research on adolescent development continues to affirm this view. Juvenile justice policy has held that the appropriate response to juvenile antisocial behavior and lawbreaking is rehabilitation. Rehabilitation excludes actions designed solely to administer retribution or send a deterrence message to others. A disposition shaped by the rehabilitative needs of the child takes account of both the current and future development capacity of the individual. This chapter examines these two features of juvenile court dispositions as well as other efforts to provide essential elements of justice for adolescent offenders in the juvenile court. Also, after examining the rationale offered by those who would abolish the juvenile court, the author identifies the discrepancy between such a proposal and research findings regarding the characteristics of juvenile offenders. The chapter concludes that there is no cause to abandon pursuit of the process and standards that make juvenile courts a suitable agent of justice for adolescent offenders. 53 references and 50 notes