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Double Paradox of Juvenile Justice

NCJ Number
European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research Volume: 7 Issue: 3 Dated: 1999 Pages: 329-351
Ido Weijers
Date Published
23 pages
This article considers the history of a century of juvenile justice.
Illinois "invented" the separate children's court in 1899, and the concept was advanced in North America, Great Britain and continental Europe in the first decades of the new century. However, a century after its founding the future of the juvenile court is in doubt everywhere in the Western world. The article rejects the view that this is part of a cyclical pattern in juvenile justice policies. The proposition of a cyclical pattern presupposes that there is no real problem at stake in treating juvenile offenders. The article emphasizes that juvenile justice cannot escape trying to solve a very complicated foundational issue. This issue is a double paradox, i.e., juvenile justice must solve two philosophical questions: the justification of punishment and the justification of punishment for non-adults. This diagnosis presents a new conceptual framework for an analysis of the history of juvenile justice. The challenge for the future of juvenile justice is to find a balance between restorative justice and communicative retributivism, and to recognize that youthful offenders cannot be held fully responsible for their actions and that they must be helped in establishing full independence. References