Juvenile Justice and Delinquency

1800-01-01 00:00:00

1700- Early 1800s:

Neglected and wayward children treated same as adult criminals or put in community asylums. Parental control absolute. See Massachusetts Stubborn Child Law.

1817-01-01 00:00:00


Child Saving movement begins. Development of Parens Patriae (“Parent of Country” as government control is extended over youthful offenses previously left to family’s control).

1825-01-01 00:00:00


Private House of Refuge opens in New York “protecting potential criminal youth by removing them from the street and away from damaging families."

1830-01-01 00:00:00


Legal Challenges to the Child Savers: See People ex rel. O’Connell v. Turner (1870). The parents of a youth successfully challenged the states right to commit their son to a state reformatory school for an unspecified period for vagrancy. The state no longer had the authority to commit youth for being poor.

1839-01-01 00:00:00


Ex Parte Crouse: Established the state’s ability to act in the role of parent. Courts could remove neglected and delinquent youth from the home over objections of the families with little due process because it was believed that the child was not being punished but treated and protected.

1847-01-01 00:00:00


Despite criticism regarding harsh conditions, private juvenile reformatories expand in Boston and New York. Most of the juvenile inmates are status offenders including those institutionalized for running away, vagrancy, alcohol consumption, school truancy, lewd language, smoking, and promiscuity.

1850-12-31 00:00:00


Development of state-funded reform schools and institutions plagued by harsh punishments and racial segregation. With no state or national standards, there is no consistency for institutionalized unruly, neglected and delinquent juveniles.

1853-01-01 00:00:00


Children’s Aid Society is formed to aid the nearly 30,000 homeless youth in New York.

1874-01-01 00:00:00


Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is founded. Influences state legislatures to pass statutes to protect children from abusive and neglectful parents.

1899-01-01 00:00:00


First juvenile court is established in Cook County, Illinois. By 1917 all but three states have juvenile courts. “The whole trend and spirit of the [1899] Juvenile Court Act] is that the State , acting through the Juvenile Court, exercises that tender solicitude and care over its neglected, dependent wards that a wise and loving parent would exercise with reference to his own children under similar circumstances.

1920-01-01 00:00:00


Status Offenders are added to most court dockets; probation established.

1930-01-01 00:00:00


Reforming the Juvenile Justice System: U.S. Children’s Bureau investigates dangerous juvenile prisons. Today, juvenile corrections reform continues.

1939-01-01 00:00:00


D. Sutherland develops Learning Theory as an explanation for crime. Children of criminal parents are at greater risk of delinquency than those with noncriminal parents.

1960-01-01 00:00:00


Delinquency soars. Family Courts’ jurisdictions increase with social service responsibilities including child abuse and family conflict. Rehabilitation model questioned in light of rising juvenile crime rates.

1966-01-01 00:00:00


Due Process Revolution as the United States Supreme Court holds that youth have many of the same procedural due process rights as adults. Kent vs. United States: In order to transfer youth to an adult court for trial, the juvenile court must provide the youth the following due process protections: 1) hearing, 2) right to counsel, and 3) access to social records.

1966-01-01 00:00:00


Community-based and diversion programs become more popular.

1967-01-01 00:00:00


In re Gault: A young boy is sentenced to six years in a State Industrial School for an obscene phone call with no procedural due process rights. The U.S. Supreme Court holds that under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, youth have a right to: 1) notice of all charges; 2) right to counsel; 3) right to confrontation and cross-examination of all witnesses; 4) privilege against self-incrimination and the right to remain silent; 5) right to a trial transcript, and 6) right to appeal.

1967-01-07 00:00:00


Labeling Theory Developed based upon the notion that criminal youth are transformed from kids who have done something bad, to bad kids subsequent to a series of encounters with the juvenile justice system.

1970-01-01 00:00:00


In re Winship: The standard of proof required before a child can be incarcerated is the same as an adult “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Prior to this case it was simply a preponderance of the evidence. A twelve year-old-boy is sentencing to a juvenile training school for up to six years for stealing $112.00. He was found guilty under a preponderance of evidence standard. “No man should be deprived of his life under the forms of law unless the jurors who try him are able, upon their consciences, to say that the evidence before them…is sufficient to show beyond a reasonable doubt the existence of every fact necessary to constitute the crime charged” (160. U.S. 493).

1971-01-01 00:00:00


McKeiver v. Pennsylvania: Does the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial extend to juveniles? Held: Juveniles do not have a constitutional right to a trial by jury in juvenile court leaving states the ability to either grant or deny juvenile jury trials. “Equating the adjudicative phase of the juvenile proceeding with a criminal trial ignores the aspects of fairness, concern, sympathy, and paternal attention inherent in the juvenile court system.

1974-01-01 00:00:00


Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act: In face of growing serious juvenile crime and a lack of proper resources and leadership, the federal government establishes a centralized body to conduct research, provide support for prevention and treatment programs, develop correctional standards and training criteria for juvenile justice practitioners in addition to stay-in-school and runaway prevention programs. The Act also provides that juveniles shall not be imprisoned, jailed or housed with adult inmates and status offenders should not be institutionalized.

1975-01-01 00:00:00


Breed v. Jones: Juveniles do have a right against double jeopardy—they cannot be tried twice for the same crime.

1980-01-01 00:00:00


Public Policy Pendulum begins to move towards law and order--get tough model. Juvenile Crime Rising:

1980-01-01 00:00:00


First Police Divisions exclusively dedicated to juveniles.

1982-01-01 00:00:00


Broken Windows: an Atlantic Magazine report on police and neighborhood safety.

1988-01-01 00:00:00


Juvenile Boot Camps become popular.

1988-01-01 00:00:00


Big Brothers Big Sisters of America founded to mentor at-risk youth. Today, it continues as one of the most empirically successful mentoring programs.

1988-01-01 00:00:00


Thompson v. Oklahoma: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that it is a violation of the Eight Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment to sentence a youth younger than sixteen to death. Seventeen years later the Court will rule that it is a violation of the Eighth Amendment to impose the death sentence on any juvenile.

1989-01-01 00:00:00


Standford v. Kentucky: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that it is NOT a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition to sentence juveniles to death between the ages of 16 and 18. See Ropper v. Simmons for the Court’s rejection of this ruling.

1990-01-01 00:00:00


Pendulum to Law and Order Model: States decrease their age for waiver to adult court and the types of offenses that result in mandatory waiver resulting in large increases of youth being tried in adult court and sentenced to adult prisons.

1992-01-01 00:00:00


Juvenile Violence Reaches All Time High

1992-01-01 00:00:00


Ohio’s Juvenile Incarceration Rate Reaches all time high at 2600 incarcerated youth.

1994-01-01 00:00:00


RECLAIM Ohio: Developed to encourage community-based sanctions. Highly successful at reducing Ohio’s juvenile incarceration and recidivism rates as Ohio Counties receive financial incentives to develop and maintain community approaches to delinquency. Ohio Juvenile Incarceration rates decrease from 2600 inmates in 1992 to 650 inmates in 2011.

1994-01-01 00:00:00

Mid 1990s

Juvenile crime begins decades long decline; number of confined youth soars in spite of decline.

1994-01-01 00:00:00


Over 3 Million Child Abuse Cases reported a year.

1998-01-01 00:00:00


School Shootings shock the nation. While school crime has decreased since 1992, students are more likely to be a victim of crime in school than out of school.

1999-01-01 00:00:00


Juvenile Court turns 100 years old. Many question whether we should retain a separate court for juveniles in light of increased due process rights and sentence lengths. Most agree that the rehabilitative model is still viable. The Juvenile Court is retained throughout the nation.

2000-01-01 00:00:00


107,000 youth incarcerated on any given day.

2003-01-01 00:00:00


Over 2.2 Million Youth Arrested Annually.

2004-01-01 00:00:00


Female delinquency accounts for 30% of all arrests.

2005-01-01 00:00:00


Ropper v. Simmons: The United States Supreme Court overturns prior decisions and declared the juvenile death penalty unconstitutional citing changes to societal norms, international standards and incomplete juvenile cerebral development.

2010-01-01 00:00:00


Graham v. Florida: Terrence Graham was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole when he was 17 for armed home robber. The United States Supreme Court ruled that the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment prohibits a life sentence without the possibility of parole for juveniles who have not taken a life.

2010-01-01 00:00:00


Crime persists yet continues to decline.

2011-01-01 00:00:00


Juvenile Drug Courts focusing on treatment receive wide-spread support as they illustrate reduced recidivism rates. Over 450 fully operational drug courts placed throughout nation with 51 additional courts in the planning stages.

2011-01-01 00:00:00


Gangs in America: Many Police Departments have specialized units dedicated to gang control. Los Angeles alone has over 1400 gangs with 800,000 members.

2011-01-01 00:00:00


Treatment, Community Programming and Diversion programs continue to grow as evaluations indicate lower reoffending rates. Some states implement detention, waiver and juvenile competency reform.

2012-01-01 00:00:00


What does our future hold for our at-risk and delinquent youth?

2014-01-01 09:29:15


In its report on juvenile drug courts, the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention explains that 1.3 million adolescents (1 of every 20 youth) ages 12 to 17-years old had a substance abuse disorder. These guidelines for successful treatment courts are meant to assure that these programs are evidence based and help improve the lives of youth. For more information see https://ojjdp.ojp.gov/sites/g/files/xyckuh176/files/pubs/250368.pdf

2017-12-01 02:42:01


After years of review, the Texas policy-makers pass laws to reduce the number of youth in secure housing and require records sealed to reduce barriers to housing, education and employment. Yet, Texas still is one of four states that automatically send all 17-year-olds to the adult justice system. —Under More information (or whatever we call it) Of the 20,000 17-year-olds arrested in Texas in 2017, more than 95% were arrested for nonviolent and misdemeanor offenses. See https://www.texascjc.org/%E2%80%9Craise-age%E2%80%9D-hold-17-year-olds-accountable-juvenile-justice-system

2019-06-01 16:33:38


On any given day, over 48,000 youth are in confined facilitates. Since 2000, the number has decreased by 60%. Yet, racial disparities continue and mirror those of the adult system according to a new report by the Prison Policy Initiative. The resource listed under the “learn more” tab is the pie chart below.

Juvenile Justice and Delinquency

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