by Jeffrey A. Butts May 16, 2015 1. use the word “jail” as a synonym for juvenile incarceration, or use the word “detention” as a synonym for all forms of juvenile incarceration 2. use the words “juvenile justice system” when what they mean is juvenile corrections or incarceration facilities 3. assume that because someone says […]
If Florida transfers far more juveniles to criminal court than any other state and yet the state’s crime decline is about average, then it is simply wrong to credit criminal-court transfer for recent reductions in youth violence.
When you look at their findings, it is clear that mental health and substance abuse issues are not the main reasons youth come into contact with the justice system, but both problems increase in prevalence as youth are processed more deeply into the system.
At least 40 states face swelling budget deficits. Likely targets for reductions include the discretionary social programs that protect public safety. Rather than jeopardize the public’s safety and well-being with imprudent cuts, a different and better way out of the financing crunch is explained by two criminologists: the social impact bond.
Despite their popularity, there are many unanswered questions about the effectiveness of teen courts. The overall impression one gets from the evaluation literature is positive, but researchers have yet to identify exactly why teen courts work. Most important, studies have not yet investigated whether some teen court models are better than others.
Jeffrey A. Butts and Howard N. Snyder (2007). Where are Juvenile Crime Trends Headed? Juvenile and Family Justice Today. Spring 2007. After 10 years of stunning decreases in violent crime, fretting over a 3 percent increase is like phoning your doctor in the middle of the night because your child’s temperature has reached 99.1 F.
Sending juveniles to adult prison is not guaranteed to reduce crime. Research shows that an aggressive system of juvenile treatment may prevent more crime than prosecuting youths as adults and giving them lengthy prison sentences.
It may be convenient to call all youths under age 18 juveniles, but it is legally incorrect and morally evasive. Legally, a person is either a juvenile or an adult. Unless we are fully prepared to think of teens as adults, we should not prosecute them as adults, whether they face capital punishment, imprisonment or probation.
In the rush to get tough on crime during the 1980s and 1990s, state laws were changed so that complicated questions of child development and legal responsibility now are settled in the state capitol, not in the courtroom.