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date: 19 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines juvenile justice policy and practice with a special focus on changes over the past quarter-century that have both challenged and reasserted juvenile courts' founding principles that children do indeed differ from adults. Section I provides an overview of the early juvenile court—its philosophical underpinnings and historic mission. Section II examines the “due process revolution” of the 1960s and assesses its intended and unintended consequences. Section III focuses on punitive shifts in juvenile justice policies during the 1980s and 1990s. It identifies the structural and political sources of “get tough” policies, examines the reformulation of adolescents' culpability, and explores their impact on juvenile justice administration. Section IV examines the contemporary juvenile court and recent responses to juvenile courts' historical deficiencies and the punitive overreaction of the 1990s. It assays how new research on adolescent competence and culpability has implicated critical issues in juvenile justice administration and influenced youth crime policy.

Keywords: juvenile justice policy, juvenile court, due process, get tough policies, juvenile justice administration, adolescent culpability, youth crime policy

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