SAGE Journal Articles
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Merlo, A. V., & Benekos, P. J. (2010). Is punitive juvenile justice policy declining in the United States? A critique of emergent initiatives. Youth Justice, 10(1), 3-24.
The authors examine emergent policies in juvenile justice that suggest a softening of the get-tough legislation of the 1990s that targeted youthful offenders. In the context of Bernard’s thesis on the cycle of juvenile justice (Bernard, 1992) this article critiques the extreme policy reactions to juvenile violence and considers the impact they had on demonization of youth and expressive justice. The discussion contrasts punitive rhetoric such as zero tolerance with programmes that incorporate restorative principles. The authors propose that a decrease in juvenile crime, dissemination of evidence-based intervention strategies, and fiscal constraints have provided opportunities to de-escalate the punitive response to youthful offenders.
Questions that apply to this article:
1. How did juvenile justice policies change in the 1990’s?
2. What is “adultification” and how does it affect juvenile justice?
3. Describe Roper v. Simmons and its affect on juvenile justice.
Cochran, J. C., & Mears, D. P. (2015). Race, ethnic, and gender divides in juvenile court sanctioning and rehabilitative intervention. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 52(2), 181-212.
Drawing on focal concerns theory, as well as scholarship on the juvenile court’s mandate to consider youth culpability and amenability to treatment, we develop hypotheses that seek to examine whether the court will (1) punish Whites less severely and (2) be more likely to intervene with Whites through rehabilitative intervention and, simultaneously, be more punitive and less rehabilitative with minorities, and, in particular, Black males. Florida juvenile court referral data and multinomial logistic regression analyses are used to examine multicategory disposition and ‘‘subdisposition’’ measures. Findings suggest that minority youth, especially Black males, are not only more likely to receive punitive sanctions, they also are less likely than White youth to receive rehabilitative interventions and instead experience significantly higher rates of dismissals. The analyses indicate that similar racial and ethnic disparities emerge when ‘‘subdispositions’’—specifically, placement options within diversion and probation—are examined. The results underscore the salience of race, ethnicity, and gender in juvenile court decisions about punitive sanctioning and rehabilitative intervention, as well as the importance of employing multicategory disposition measures that better reflect the range of sanctioning and intervention options available to the court.
Questions to consider:
1. Describe the race, ethnic, and gender differences in juvenile court sanctioning.
2. What is focal concerns theory? What does focal concerns theory say about rehabilitative intervention?
3. What are the differences in rehabilitative intervention based on race, ethnicity, or gender?
Peterson-Badali, M., Skilling, T., & Haqanee, Z. (2015). Examining implementation of risk Assessment in case management for youth in the justice system. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 42(3), 304-320.
Research on implementation of a case management plan informed by valid risk assessment in justice services is important in contributing to evidence-based practice but has been neglected in youth justice. We examined the connections between risk assessment, treatment, and recidivism by focusing on the individual criminogenic needs domain level. Controlling for static risk, dynamic criminogenic needs significantly predicted reoffense. Meeting individual needs in treatment was associated with decreased offending. However, there is “slippage” in the system that reduces practitioners’ ability to effectively address needs. Even in domains where interventions are available, many youth are not receiving services matched to their needs. Implications and limitations of findings are discussed.
Questions to consider:
1. What is the Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) framework?
2. Why is it important to utilize the RNR framework to reduce risk and create effective interventions?
3. Describe the connections between appropriate case management and recidivism rates.