This bulletin describes the development of the U.S. juvenile justice system.
The bulletin examines where the juvenile justice system is headed and the recent trend of transferring certain juvenile cases to adult criminal court. The juvenile justice system provides youthful offenders and their victims with a comprehensive yet balanced approach to justice. Probation, treatment, and restitution are widely used. At its best the juvenile court balances rehabilitation and treatment with appropriate sanctions - including incarceration, when necessary. For most juveniles who enter the system, this approach works: 54 percent of males and 73 percent of females never return to juvenile court on a new referral. There are, however, areas in the juvenile justice system that need improvement. For example, the system needs to prepare to handle more female offenders and offenders under the age of 13, two groups whose numbers are increasing. The bulletin also provides a brief history of the U.S. juvenile justice system, from its roots in 16th-century European educational reform movements, to the present, citing relevant cases. Tables, figures, sources, resources
Date Published: December 1, 1999