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Legislator and Juvenile Justice - An Important Partnership

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The role of State legislatures in the ongoing process of juvenile justice reform is discussed in terms of priority needs, such as nationwide uniformity of sentencing guidelines, diversion programs, and correctional goals.
Part of an audiocassette series containing the proceedings of the 1978 Juvenile Justice National Conference, this is an exploration of how legislators (especially State legislators) should initiate and implement juvenile justice reforms within a nationwide, uniformly applied, normative framework. In view of public demands that more attention be paid to juvenile crime, as well as raised expectations of accountability in the allocation and expenditure of public funds, the focus has shifted from the courts to the legislators. Substantive law has been changed by court rules, and the necessity for the establishment of correctional goals for juveniles, clearly set forth and uniformly applied, is universally recognized. In order to prevent juvenile offenders from becoming recidivists, they must be provided with educational and recreational outlets. Despite the controversial, and to many people unpalatable, nature of this approach, juvenile ex-offenders should be given priority in job hiring over nonoffenders. The Michigan State Legislature is cited as pioneering the field of juvenile justice reform. In conclusion, legislators are urged to learn more about juvenile justice (hitherto shrouded in secrecy) in order to initiate progressive and adequate legislative reforms in this area. No written text is provided with the cassettes. For related tapes, see NCJ 67692.


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