CJ 240, Chapter 1 Notes
CJ 240, Chapter 1 Notes CJ 240
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Michela Spicer on Monday August 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CJ 240 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Joshua Wakeham in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 47 views. For similar materials see Juvenile Delinquency in Criminal Justice at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.
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Date Created: 08/29/16
Emerging Picture of Juvenile Delinquency The term “juvenile delinquency” casts a wide net o Less serious criminal acts- trespassing, underage drinking, truancy, etc o Serious criminal and violent acts- assault and battery, armed robbery, rape, murder, etc Juvenile delinquent is an official, legal designation Legal Understanding of Juvenile Delinquency Any offense that is considered a crime committed by someone under the age of majority (not legally an adult) Or, any offense that is in the juvenile codes committed by someone under the age of majority (truancy, running away) Criminological Understanding of Delinquency Key questions for the criminological understanding of juvenile delinquency oWhy do kids turn to crime? oHow is this connected to broader patterns in crime and criminality? Understanding why kids turn to crime means understanding the broader kinds of problems that kids face these days oUnderstanding of causes helps us find solutions Juvenile delinquency is necessarily tied up with the developmental stage of adolescence oJuveniles are not “short adults” oBiological, cognitive, moral, and social issues The Adolescent Dilemma Erik Erikson: late adolescents (16-18 years old) experience a tension between ego identity and role diffusion oEgo identity: a full sense of self, derived from self and social sources o Role diffusion: experience of uncertainty about where one fits in; being pulled in different directions to play different social roles Problems That Todays Youth Faces Siegel and Welsh list a variety of social problems that might put children at risk of delinquency oAdolescent poverty oHealth, mortality problems oRacial inequality oFamily problems oSubstandard living conditions oInadequate educational purposes oChallenges of navigating cyberspace Reasons for Optimism Most crimes have declined over the last 20 years Teen driving habits are improving oIncrease in the number who wear seatbelts oDecrease in drunk driving Teens are drinking less Teen pregnancy is declining More teens are attending college than ever Why Study Delinquency? If things are improving, then should juvenile delinquency really be a priority for society? o Just because things have been going well doesn’t mean they will stay that way o It is easier to experiment and figure out best practices when the system isn’t overwhelmed o There are still real problems out there Another reason: locking up criminals is expensive o The vast majority of delinquents will age out of their criminal behavior o Some delinquents, however, start young and persist in a life of crime into adulthood- chronic delinquent offenders Getting smart on crime: can we figure out a way to make better use of our resources to target those most problematic cases? History of Childhood & Delinquency Different conceptions of children & parenting Ideas about what constitutes good parenting are related to how we understand child welfare Both ideas about good parenting & child welfare are rooted in historical & cultural context History of these ideas connected to development of legal doctrines & institutions Aries: During the Middle Ages (500-1500 C.E.), parents had less emotional attachment to children oHigh infant mortality oSome other historians (Nicholas Orme) have questioned this depiction People did not always think of childhood in ways that we do now People thought about children- and thus parents’ obligations to their children- differently Conceptions of childhood in the Middle Ages If peasant children survived to 6, they were generally put to work Noble children were generally used in a way to ensure the familys standing in society Changing conceptions of children & parents Ideas about family and children began changing in the 17 and th 18 centuries (1600-1700s) oRise of love marriages oRomanticizing the “nuclear family” o Age of Enlightenment: rise of humanistic values tempered older models of disciplining children Poor Laws Starting in 1535, England passes laws about what to do with poor/neglected kids oSent to work in families Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601 oSystem of church wardens & overseers oOften sent to workhouses, poorhouses, or apprenticeships Chancery Courts “Courts of equity”: dealt with matters outside of traditional legal system (Common Law) oProperty & custody issues of the nobility Dealings with noble children oGuardianship for orphans oProperty, inheritance issues Parens Patriae Poor Laws, chancery courts defining the state’s obligations to children Parens Patriae o“Parent of the nation” o State has an obligation to intervene in the lives of its most vulnerable citizens, especially children Concept gets used as a way to justify more and more intervention into the lives of children and families Americas Early History Colonial America inherits English understanding of children and families November 1646, The General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony passes the Stubborn Child Law The Stubborn Child Law “If a man have a stubborn or rebellious son, of sufficient years and understanding sixteen years of age, which will not obey the voice of his Father, or the voice of his Mother, and that when they have chastened him will not harken unto them: then shall his Father and Mother, being his natural parents, lay hold on him, and bring him to the Magistrates assembled in Court and testify unto them, that their son is stubborn and rebellious, and will not obey their voice and chastisement, but lives in sundry notorious crimes, such son shall be put to death” Beyond Stubborn Child Law 1600s-1700s: Americas laws follow England oPoor Laws, apprenticeships oChild protection laws (rarely enforced) o Children over 7 are generally treated the same as adults in criminal cases th 19 Century: Rise of Modernity 19 century brought with it tremendous social upheaval oIndustrialization oUrbanization oImmigration The Child Savers The Progressive Era “Child Saver” movement emerges at this time oFactory Act oHouses of Refuge, Reform schools, Cottage Movement oJuvenile Courts (1899) KEY: Informing these social and legal reforms is a confidence in the moral authority of the State to intervene in families on behalf of children Connections to Today Todays legal understanding of delinquency and the institutional th response to delinquency came from the 19 century Parens Patriae is the underlying logic of the juvenile justice system to this day oGoal: determine the “best interests of the child” Legal Status of Delinquency 19 century reformers fought to get juvenile delinquent recognized as distinct legal status To this day we have oSeparate institutions oDifferent terminology Legal Responsibility of Youth The separate status of “juvenile delinquent” recognizes the fact that young people are legally less responsible for their crimes Adolescents are recognized to oBe more risk-seeking oWeigh negative consequences less oBe more impulsive oHave a different appreciation of time and self control oBe more susceptible to peer pressure Under the logic of parens patriae, a delinquent act is not considered a criminal violation o“Need for treatment” However, young people are subject to arrest, trial, and incarceration For severe crimes, young people can be waved to adult court Stepping Back KEY: Intervening in the lives of “delinquents” is typically framed as helping them (serving their best interests) oPractically speaking- it involves arrest, trial, and incarceration When and why should the State intervene in the lives of young people and their families? Status Offenses Conduct that is illegal only because of the youths status as a minor 19 century “Wayward youth” Today Chins, Pins, Yins, Jins, Fins Status offenses less stigma than “juvenile delinquent” Practically speaking- not much difference in terms of treatment by the system The Law and Status Offenders In theory and in practice, the law and the courts show ambivalence about how to treat status offenders oLegal reforms have pushed to keep status offenders out of lock up oLegal exceptions and workarounds still make it possible Other Means of Social Control Increase in the number of curfew laws oTypical: no one under 18 out after 11pm Research suggests oIncrease in juvenile victimization oIncrease in juvenile crime Holding parents legally accountable for childrens delinquent behavior oCivil and criminal liability oSteep fines Criticisms oPunishing already poor parents oNot fair for parents of older teens Alternative models: Helping Families Initiative (Alabama)
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