Brick by Brick: Dismantling the Border between Juvenile and Adult Justice

Jeffrey A. Butts and Ojmarrh Mitchell (2000). Brick by Brick: Dismantling the Border between Juvenile and Adult Justice. In Criminal Justice 2000, Volume 2. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice.

Juvenile courts and criminal courts are moving toward complete convergence. Policymakers and practitioners need to be aware of the factors leading to this convergence and the effects it may have. Much of the American public and a growing number of policymakers appear to believe that the original concept of juvenile justice was flawed. Public criticism of the juvenile court intensified during the last two decades of the 20th century, and many States began to abandon those aspects of juvenile justice that were once distinctly different from the criminal (adult) justice system. Many reforms were enacted in an attempt to strengthen the Nation’s response to juvenile offenders, but the reforms did not curb public criticism of the juvenile court or juvenile correctional programs. In fact, repeated reforms may have further weakened the juvenile justice system and encouraged the public to view juvenile justice as something less than real justice.

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