Juvenile Court Period

Evolution of Juvenile Justice
• Ancient Social Controls
• English Roots
• American Juvenile Justice
–Puritan Period (1646-1824)
–Refuge Period (1824-1899)
–Juvenile Court Period (1899-1960)
–Juvenile Rights Period (1960-1980)
–Crime Control Period (1980-now)
Ancient Social Controls
Family was the basis of social control
Father has “absolute” control of children
Corporal punishment , killing, and selling
children was OK
Children considered “property” of father
(Roman society)
Children as young as 6 were hanged or
burned at the stake (600 AD)
Church of Rome – children under age 7
Our English Roots
• Common Law - King was “father of his country”
i.e., right and responsibility to care for children
• 1555 London’s Bridewell Prison – first institution
to control young “beggars & vagrants”
• 1558-1603 England passed “poor laws” resulting
in indentured service and work houses,
involuntary apprenticeships up to age 21+
• 1782 Gilbert Act placed all “poor, aged, sick and
infirm” in “poorhouses,” with a “proper person”
• 1817 London Philanthropic Society opened “house
of refuge” to reform juvenile offenders in an
institutional setting
American Juvenile Justice
• Punish Protect Punish
• 5 Distinct Phases
–Puritan Period (1646-1824)
–Refuge Period (1824-1899)
–Juvenile Court Period (1899-1960)
–Juvenile Rights Period (1960-1980)
–Crime Control Period (1980-today)
• Fathers had absolute control over children
• Harsh punishments/death for misbehavior
• 1646 Stubborn Child Laws created status
offenses, e.g., “incorrigibility”
• Children of poor became indentured
servants - placed with “proper” family
• Industrial revolution shifted control
from family to employers.
• “Dangerous Underclass”
• 1818 –“juvenile delinquency”
was coined - linked to poverty to
juvenile crime
Refuge Period (1824-1899)
Social control shifts from family to State
Houses of Refuge, Reformatories and Foster
Homes created for delinquent, dependent and
neglected youth, i.e., mostly poor youth
1824 New York House of Refuge – first US
Courts sent youth to homes until age of maturity
under the “parens patriae” authority,
misbehavior was punished harshly
Labor contracted out to local business
Reform schools provided more home like
environment in mid 1800’s
1853 – neglected/delinquent youth placed in
private foster homes in rural areas
Bruce County House of Refuge
Walkerton, Ontario 1919
Refuge Period (continued)
New philosophy of children as basically good
• Puritans believed children were sinful by nature
Child Savers believed environment makes children
“bad” - can be saved by placement in house of refuge,
reformatory, etc.
Children should not be held accountable as adults
Treatment/Rehabilitation rather than punishment
Courts should avoid punitive adversarial role
Courts should consider individual circumstances of each
Who were Child Savers really protecting?
Child Savers saw poor youth as threat to society who
needed to be taught to conform
Juvenile Court Period
Juvenile Court Period 1899-1960
• 1899 Chicago, Illinois - Juvenile Court Act – for
the first time ever, courts have a different duty to
children charged with violating the law.
• youth (under 16) who commit crimes subject to
“medical model,” i.e. treatment not punishment.
• Progressives view crime/delinquency as disease
to be treated and cured by social intervention.
– Youth should not be imprisoned with adults.
– Court process should be less formal/adversarial.
– “One pot approach” combines
abused/neglected youth,
delinquents, & status offenders
Juvenile Court Period (continued)
• Probation applied specifically to juveniles
• Probation officers have two functions:
1. Investigation and
2. Rehabilitation
–Investigate youth’s environment
–Furnish information to court
–Represent interest of youth in court
–Supervise before and after trial
• 1914 Chicago Boy’s Court
First attempts at Diversion
using 4 religious agencies
Juvenile Court Period (continued)
• Children in every social class committed crimes, but only the
poor become wards of the court
• Federal Government Gets Involved:
• 1909 White House Conference on Dependent Children
• 1912 U.S. Children’s Bureau
• 1912 Child labor laws passed
• 1925 All but 2 States had juvenile court systems
• 1935 Social Security Act - major federal funding to aid
children and families
• 1938 Juvenile Court Act passed
• By 1948 all states had special laws for juveniles
• 1951 Federal Youth Corrections Act created a Juvenile
Delinquency Bureau in Department of Health, Education
and Welfare
• 1956 Shioutakon v. District of Columbia provided
juveniles the right to a lawyer in court (due process)
Juvenile Rights Period
• Four D’s of Juvenile Justice:
– Deinstitutionalization – status offense
removed from juvenile court (PINS,
CHINS, etc)
– Due Process – juveniles have
Constitutional protections
– Diversion – shifts power to police,
leads to “net widening”
– Decriminalization - eliminating status
offenses from juvenile court
Juvenile Rights Period, continued
• US Supreme Court dramatically re-shapes
Juvenile Justice:
• Kent v. United States (1961)
– 16 year old Kent admits breaking into a house, robbery,
and rape and is adjudicated as a juvenile then transferred
to adult court without any hearing.
• SC says: Juveniles are entitled to a formal
hearing, access to records, and statement of
reason before a juvenile court can waive
jurisdiction. Certain factors, e.g., seriousness of
crime, maturity of the juvenile, juvenile’s record
and history, etc., must be considered by the court
in deciding whether to try the juvenile as an
Juvenile Rights Period, continued
• In re Gault (1967)
◦ 15 y.o. Gault was on probation and accused of making an
obscene phone call and was taken into custody. Petition
alleges only “delinquency.” No witnesses appeared, no
attorney was present, no record of proceedings. Juvenile
admits crime and is committed to an “industrial school” to
age 21. (6 years!)
• SC says: Juveniles have due process rights including
notice, counsel, confront witnesses, recording of
proceedings, right against self-incrimination.
Juvenile Rights Period, continued
• In re Winship (1970)
– 12 year old Winship charged with taking $112
from a woman’s purse is adjudicated on a
preponderance of the evidence and sent to
training school for 18 months to 6 years.
• SC says: Juveniles adjudications must be
founded on proof beyond a reasonable
Juvenile Rights Period, continued
• McKeiver v. Pennsylvania (1971)
– 16 year old McKeiver charged with robbery,
larceny, and receiving stolen goods. He
appealed after adjudication claiming he had a
right to a jury trial.
• SC says: A jury trial is NOT a required
element of due process because it is not
necessary for accurate fact finding.
Juvenile Rights Period, continued
• Breed v. Jones (1975)
◦ 17 year old Breed charged with committing acts with a
dangerous weapon and was adjudicated in the juvenile
court. At the dispositional hearing, court found
“insufficient facilities” available to juvenile court so
Breed was transferred to adult court and again Breed
was found guilty as an adult.
• SC says: Double jeopardy prohibits a juvenile
from being tried in juvenile court then tried again
for the same crime in adult court.
Juvenile rights period, CONTINUED
• JDB v. North Carolina (2011)
– Police questioned JDB about a burglary. A few days
later, a uniformed SRO took JDB and a school
administrator questioned him at school in a closeddoor conference room for at least 30 minutes. They
did not give him Miranda warnings or the
opportunity to call his grandmother, nor tell him he
was free to leave the room. JDB confessed to
officials, but then was told that he could refuse to
answer questions and was free to leave. JDB said
he understood and told police where the stolen
items were located.
• SC says: Age must be considered when law
enforcement is deciding whether a juvenile is
in custody for Miranda purposes.
Juvenile Rights Period, continued
• Federal Government further re-shapes
juvenile justice system:
• 1967 - President’s Commission on Law
Enforcement and Administration of Justice
criticizes juvenile courts for:
– Lack of due process
– Law enforcement’s poor relationship w/youth
– Mixing status offenders w/delinquents
– Institutionalization of youth
– Incarceration of non-violent youth
Juvenile Rights Period, continued
• 1967 – Federal Youth Service Bureaus
established to coordinate communitycentered referrals and diversion
– YSB’s were an alternative to court action,
a.k.a. diversion
– Goal was to develop local resources
– Diversion results in “net widening” i.e.,
brings more youth into the system and
transfers authority from courts to police
and corrections
Juvenile Rights Period, continued
• 1968 – Uniform Juvenile Court Act
– National reform of juvenile court, law
enforcement, and corrections procedures for
– Finds correctional “treatment” is often
unnecessarily punitive
– Recommends treatment, training, and
rehabilitation in a family environment if
Juvenile Rights Period, continued
 1974 - Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention Act creates the Office of
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention (OJJDP) in the Department of
◦ Two key goals of JJDP Act:
1. Deinstitutionalization of Status
Offenders (DSO)
2. Sight and Sound Separation of juvenile
offenders and adult offenders
Juvenile Rights Period, continued
• JJDP Act is amended over the years to require:
Removal of juveniles from adult jails (1980)
Disproportionate Minority Confinement (1992)
Disproportionate Minority Contact (2002)
• Funding changes depending on policies of President
and Congress (per “the people”)
• JJDP Act was scheduled for reauthorization in
2007…still waiting with no end in sight
Crime Control Period (1980-now)
· Conservative approach returns
· “Medical Model” replaced
with “Justice Model” i.e., crime is product of
adaptation to societal conditions and free
will, NOT “disease” or poor environment
· Best interests of society replace best
interest of the youth
· Two more “D’s” added to juvenile justice:
5. Deterrence – specific and general
6. Deserts – youth should get their “just
deserts” (they get what they deserve)
Crime Control Period (continued)
• “Get Tough on Crime” attitudes prevail
• Punishment is for society’s good; treatment for
the individual’s good
• 49 states allow prosecutors to send youth
directly to criminal court
• 26 states exclude certain offenses from juvenile
court jurisdiction
• Juvenile Justice is still evolving – NOT static!
Crime Control Period (continued)
• Schall v. Martin (1984)
– Schall arrested for robbery, assault
and possession of weapon then lies
to police about his address. Judge orders him detained
until trial. Juvenile claims it is unfair to hold him until
• SC says: The juvenile court can order preventive
detention because it serves legitimate state
purpose of protecting society and juveniles.
Pretrial detention is NOT punishment.
What do YOU think?
• Should the juvenile court act more as a
“parent” or as a traditional (criminal) court?
• Is juvenile crime the product of poverty, the
wrong environment, free will, or something
• Do diversion programs help to keep youth out
of court or do they “widen the net” and bring
more youth into the juvenile justice system?
• Whose interests should come first in the
juvenile courts – society’s or the juvenile’s?

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