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American system of juvenile corrections

The American system of juvenile corrections has numerous failures and few successes, and it is a system in crisis as the inner cities produce more and more street gangs, violence, and troubled youth. There are many reasons for the increase in these problems, and the programs developed to cope with them have not kept pace with the rate of change and have not served well to control juveniles or to address their problems. Yet, new programs are suggested all the time, showing that there is a realization of the need and an attempt to come to terms with it. The system is seen as overburdened and as facing new levels of violence in the streets so that the sorts of crimes with which the system must cope are more serious than in earlier periods. The system, which has been based on a rehabilitation model, has also been seen as ineffective, and new approaches have been suggested in legislation.

Bennett notes that one of the consequences of increasing teenage crime and drug use has been a new intolerance expressed in the juvenile justice system through programs emphasizing punishment. Rehabilitation had been a strong objective in juvenile justice even after it had become discredited for adult offenders, with the idea being that rehabilitation should be possible for young offenders before they become too hardened. Much of this intention has withered away to be replaced more and more by mandated prison sentences and an emphasis on punishment. By 1983, 48 states and the District of Columbia had taken away much of the discretion of judges in setting sentences (Bennett 68). As early as 1978, public dissatisfaction had caused all fifty states and the federal government to enact statutes under which juveniles could be tried in adult courts, but even this has not worked as intended: "The very mandated sentences that are supposed to make life harder for criminals make it much more difficult to prosecute a youngster" (Bennett 68).

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American system of juvenile corrections. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:15, August 06, 2020, from