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Anthony Platt: The Triumph of Benevolence: What Did Anthony Platt Suggest Was the Real Purpose of the Child Saving Movement?

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The size and complexity of the task undertaken by the Juvenile Justice Standards Project of the Institute of Judicial Administration and the American Bar Association and the IJA-ABA Joint Commission of Juvenile Justice Standards must be understood at the outset of this volume. The formulation of standards to govern the juvenile justice system goes far beyond criminal jurisprudence. Juvenile offenders are only a portion of the population within the juvenile justice system.

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The American juvenile justice system has developed over the past century with a number of differences that distinguish it from the adult criminal justice process. Juvenile justice advocates supported the differences on diminished youthful offender accountability and legal understanding, and youths’ greater amenability to treatment. The first juvenile court was established in Chicago, Illinois, in 1899; yet a century later there is still considerable debate over the goals and the legal procedures for dealing with juvenile offenders. The question of whether juvenile offenders should be tried and sentenced differently than adult offenders elicits strongly held opinions from citizens, policy makers, and professionals. The juvenile justice system was established on the principle of individualized justice and focused on rehabilitation of youthful offenders. While due process protections were considered important, they were considered secondary in importance given the court’s emphasis oncare, treatment, and rehabilitation for juveniles. It was believed that youths could be held responsible for their unlawful behavior and society could be protected through an informal justice system that focused on treatment and “the best interests of the child.” This approach is still appropriate and effective for the majority of juvenile offenders whose crimes range from status offenses, to property offenses, to drug offenses. The juvenile justice system has come under increasing scrutiny, however, as a growing number of juveniles are involved in violent crimes, especially school violence, gang-related violence, and assaults with weapons resulting in fatalities and serious injuries. Despite the fact that juveniles are involved in a proportionately small number of murders each year, violent crime committed by juveniles elicits widespread media coverage. The public and political/legislative response to juvenile violence has been to demand more accountability and punishment, resembling that of the criminal justice system. One century after the development of the first juvenile court, the system faces a multitude of challenges and questions. The separate system of justice for juveniles has developed just over the past 100 years. Following the tradition of English law, children who broke the law in 18th-century America were treated much the same as adult criminals. Parents were responsible for controlling their children, and parental discipline was very strict and punishments were harsh. Youth who committed crimes were treated much the same as adult criminal offenders

The law made no distinction based on the age of the offender, and there was no legal term of delinquent.

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Before contact with the juvenile court and subsequent detention centers, most juvenile offenders have access to online education programs in their public schools. For example, Clark County School District uses the Internet-based Apex Learning system, among others

The public school students who use the Apex system are given unique login usernames and passwords, exactly like email or other social networking accounts (NEV. REV. STAT. § 209.417(3)). From the Apex website, students take online courses to fulfill Advanced Placement credits, make up lost credits, or pursue extra credits for early graduation. Additionally, Nevada’s public schools, at certain grade levels, require participation in Internet-based dynamic assessments known as Smarter Balanced Assessments. These assessments are responsive, relying on students’ answers to determine appropriate follow-up questions. This feature works to remediate any gaps in learning students may experience and “provides a more accurate indicator for teachers, students, and parents as they work to meet the rigorous demands of college and career readiness.” Of course, like the Apex learning system, access to the Smarter Balanced Assessment requires access to the Internet. In juvenile detention centers, pursuant to NRS 209.417, students are prohibited from having access to the online programs used in their public schools (APEX LEARNING VIRTUAL SCH).

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In the long run, the Invention of Delinquency was first published in 1969, later re-conceptualised and published in a second edition in 1977. It quickly entered the canon and has become part of the common sense narrative of the American juvenile justice system

A new 40th anniversary edition will be published in 2009 by Rutgers University Press. Drawing upon various critiques of The Child Savers and recent historiography on its subject matter, I revisit the following issues: the significance of the Progressive Era as the starting point of juvenile justice history; limitations of the ‘social control’ perspective; the inter-relationship of class, race, gender, and juvenile justice; the need for comparative and global perspectives on juvenile justice; and a reconsideration of the legacies of neo-liberalism. The article calls for a new round of revisionist scholarship on juvenile justice.

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APEX LEARNING VIRTUAL SCH., http://www.apexlearningvs.com/cours es [https://perma.cc/6Y3D-466J] (last visited Jan. 29, 2017).

Smarter Balanced Assessments for Grades 3–8, NEV. DEP’T EDUC., http://www.doe.nv.gov/Assessments/Smarter_Balanced_Assessment_Consortium_(SBAC)/ [https://perma.cc/Y6F3-TZSB] (last visited Jan. 29, 2017). 11 See NAT’L PTA, PARENTS’ GUIDE TO NEW GRADES 3–8: ASSESSMENTS IN NEVADA (2013)

Interview with Robert Tarter, Principal, Clark Cty. Juvenile Det. Ctr., in Las Vegas, Nev. (Oct. 2, 2015)

NEV. REV. STAT. § 209.417(3) (2015); Interview with Robert Tarter, supra note 6.

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