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Future Trends in Juvenile Justice

NCJ Number
PAPPC Journal Volume: 4 Issue: 1 Dated: (Spring 1985) Pages: 44-49
R J Seyko
Date Published
6 pages
This paper examines trends in juvenile justice since its inception by reviewing Supreme Court decisions, proposed legislation, and general attitudes; future trends are predicted.
The juvenile court has experienced three distinct historical periods. First, at common law, child criminals over age 7 were subject to the same penalties as adults. The harsh penalties included capital punishment, even for nonhomicides. Towards the end of the 19th century, parens patriae created a separate criminal justice system for youth, to save them from criminal careers. The first juvenile court appeared in Illinois in 1899, and by 1945 every State had some form of juvenile justice, with courts closed to the public. The third period, called 'due process' or constitutional, has acknowledged the rehabilitative goal, but extended many constitutional procedural rights to youth, the result of In re Gault, 1967. But not all constitutional rights were extended; trial by jury is still not assured in juvenile cases (McKeiver v. Pennsylvania, 1971). The possibility of breaking confidentiality remains a potential threat to the rehabilitative goal in juvenile cases. Pennsylvania in particular is considering bills that would recriminalize juvenile courts, but adolescents will continue to receive special rehabilitative (not punitive) court disposition. Ten references are listed.