Juvenile Justice and Delinquency

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Barry A. Krisberg

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    Preface

    More than 30 years ago, I had the unique opportunity of spending almost every day for several months with about 20 young men who were leaders of juvenile gangs in Philadelphia. They introduced me to their fellow gang members and family members and allowed me to share part of their world. They generously shared their lives with me and profoundly changed my own.

    To law enforcement officials and to many community residents, these young men were very dangerous offenders who had been arrested many times and had spent a fair amount of time in juvenile facilities and adult prisons, but to me, they were my teachers and mentors in settings that were very different from my experiences. First and foremost, these young men taught me to listen and to reflect on the life experiences of those less fortunate than myself. Much of my academic and professional career has been built on listening carefully to young people who are often very angry and bitter about their own lives. I have always tried to faithfully communicate what they told me to others in the worlds of public policy, the university community, professional groups, and students. Most recently, I found myself interviewing more than 150 young people who were confined in the California Youth Authority. They told me of everyday examples of abuse and maltreatment by those who were supposed to provide for their education and treatment. Retelling their stories to my fellow Californians is leading to a major reexamination of how the nation’s most populous state is treating its troubled young people. I saw the reformative power of this approach in the early 1970s when Jerome Miller, then Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services, held press conferences across the state and simply asked his young clients to tell the media what was being done to them by a brutal and corrupt youth corrections system. One result of this effort was that Massachusetts closed its barbaric training schools and returned most youths to smaller, high-quality, community-based programs. Even today, the Miller reforms represent the “gold standard” for juvenile justice in the Bay State and across the nation.

    My Philadelphia encounters with young gang members taught me to embrace the value of redemptive justice. It is what we all would want for ourselves and our family ­members—a justice system that offers the hope that people can improve and can restart their lives in a more positive direction. I believe that the concept of redemptive justice was central to what Jane Addams and other pioneers in juvenile justice were striving to achieve. Rather than killing off the idealistic vision of the juvenile court, we need to rediscover it.

    This book attempts to assemble the research that supports this perspective. I hope to encourage students to think critically. Sometimes, the language used in this book is less than polite—but now is the time for plain talk and “speaking truth to power.” My hope is that this book and the courses in which it will be utilized will be springboards to lead the current generation of idealistic young people into progressive action.

    I have many debts to repay to those who helped me assemble this book. National Council on Crime and Delinquency researchers Priscilla Aguirre, Jessica Craine, Sharan Dhanoa, Poonam Juneja, Kelly Knight, and Susan Marchionna assisted in reviewing earlier drafts, running down key references, and suggesting ways to improve the overall effort. My appreciation goes to great colleagues such as Yitzhak Bakal, Frederick Mills, Richard Tillson, and Buddy Howell who were my sounding boards, patiently listening as I tried to work out my ideas. I owe a special debt to the University of California at Berkeley students who lived through classes devoted to the materials in this book and showed me how to improve my presentation. I also wish to express my appreciation for academic colleagues at the Law School and the Institute for the Study of Social Issues.

    To my own teachers and mentors, especially Marvin Wolfgang and Thorsten Sellin, I owe so much. They taught me that ideas could change the world for the better and that advances in enlightened social policy are the true measure of lasting intellectual contributions.

    Jerry Westby of Sage Publications was a patient and very supportive editor. Susan Marchionna was the central person in pulling together this manuscript. She conducted complex research, forced me to write and think more clearly, and made sure that the final product was worthy of its goals. Without Susan’s very hard work, this book would still be in progress.

    Finally, I want to thank my sons, Moshe and Zaid, and my daughter-in-law Jessica, who continue to keep me plugged into the world of young people, educating me about what is really important in life. My life partner, Karen McKie, is responsible for infusing a humanistic spirit into my scholarly work. Her “conceptual physics” helped me look at familiar topics with a fresh set of eyes. Most important, she has showed me what unconditional love and building community can accomplish in a less-than-perfect world. Her love and support make my world possible.

    Sage Publications gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following reviewers of earlier editions of the book:

    Joanitha Barnes, Southwest Tennessee Community College

    Ed Bowman, Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania

    Margaret Pate, Radford University

    Judith A. Ryder, St. John’s University

    Michelle C. Watkins, El Paso Community College

    Franklin E. Zimring, University of California at Berkeley

    Andrea L. Kordzek, University at Albany

    Yolander G. Hurst, Southern Illinois University

    Charles E. Owens, University of North Florida

    Patricia H. Jenkins, Temple University

    Nancy Rodriguez, Arizona State University, West

    Sesha Kethineni, Illinois State University

    Morgan Peterson, Palomar College

    Lee Ayers, Southern Oregon University

    Charles L. Dreveskracht, Northeastern State University

    Verna J. Henson, Texas State University–San Marcos

    Martha Smithey, University of Texas at El Paso

    Allison Ann Payne, College of New Jersey

    Frances G. Pestello, University of Dayton

    Ron Fagan, Pepperdine University

    Jeffrey P. Rush, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

    Terrance J. Taylor, Georgia State University

    Acknowledgments

    I would like to thank my colleagues at the Law School and the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues at the University of California, Berkeley, who provided me with encouragement and assistance in the writing of this book. Many of these colleagues indulged my early ideas about how to approach this project.

    Much praise goes to Jerry Westby and Laura Kirkhoff at Sage Publications who shepherded this book from its conception to the final manuscript. I am also indebted to Professor Carly Dierkhising who had valuable suggestions about improvements that could be made in this edition.

    Most of all, I must thank my children, Moshe, Zaid, and Jessica, whose love, support, and fresh perspectives nurture me. To my life partner, Karen McKie, who taught me about the power of unconditional love and compassion, I owe so much.

    This book, which is very much about the future, is dedicated to my granddaughter, Memphis McKie-Krisberg, who reminded me of the power of discovery, joy, and unyielding spirit to change the world.

  • Glossary

    Abscond:

    To fail to appear in court on an appointed day, or to fail to report to one's probation or parole officer or to make them aware of a change in residence.

    Accreditation:

    A formal process to certify competency, credibility, and authority.

    Adjudication:

    A formal court process to determine the guilt or innocence of the defendant, or to accept the child under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.

    Age of Jurisdiction:

    The age boundaries that qualify a youth for being subject to the authority of the juvenile and criminal courts.

    Amicus Brief:

    Arguments presented by “friends” of the court on points of law that are often matters of broad public interest.

    Arraignment:

    A court proceeding in which the charges are presented and the defendant can plead guilty or innocent.

    Bail:

    A deposit is made to the court for the release of the defendant from custody and to ensure appearance at trial. The amount is set by the court.

    Blended Sentencing:

    Hybrid systems in which either adult or juvenile courts may sentence young people as both adults and juveniles.

    Booking:

    The process by which the jail or detention staff register the charges against a person held for a law violation.

    Boot Camp:

    A program for juvenile or adult offenders characterized by strict discipline, hard physical labor, and community labor.

    Capital Punishment:

    A sentence that requires that the state put the offender to death.

    Case Management:

    A process of identifying clear expectations for behavioral change that should occur within a specific sanctioning option.

    Case Management System:

    A computerized program that assists correctional staff in many aspects of their program including assessments of risk, treatment needs, and supervision strategies. These programs also help track the progress of the youth in meeting the court's objectives.

    Caseload:

    The number of clients that the staff person is assigned to supervise on a regular basis.

    Chemical and Mechanical Force:

    The use of chemical agents such as pepper spray or handcuffs, straightjackets, or shackles to control behavior and to punish individuals.

    Civil Rights:

    Personal liberties afforded to an individual based upon their status as a citizen or resident of a community. These rights are most commonly reflected in the United States or state constitutions or statutes, such as the right to be free from discrimination or the right to not be subject to cruel and unusual punishment.

    Classification Systems:

    A grouping of individuals based upon their risk of future misconduct that permits corrections staff to safely and properly supervise them.

    Community Supervision:

    Various types of noncustodial supervision that allow the offender to live in the community while remaining under the jurisdiction of the court or corrections agency. Common examples of community supervision include probation or monitoring with the condition that failure to follow these rules might result in custody.

    Conditions of Confinement:

    Overall terms and requirements experienced by persons in custodial settings that are derived from the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and include basic rights and humane physical, medical, and psychological care.

    Conditions of Probation:

    The terms and responsibilities that an offender must meet to maintain his or her probation status and to avoid incarceration. These conditions typically include regular contacts with assigned probation officers, avoidance of lawbreaking behavior, not using drugs and alcohol, attending required school, and individual curfews.

    Conflict Theory:

    A vibrant tradition in criminology that emphasized social and class conflicts as central to comprehending law violations and the motives of lawbreakers and law enforcers.

    Consent Decree:

    A legally binding agreement by litigants to resolve a potential lawsuit.

    Contempt of Court:

    A charge of disobeying or disrespecting a valid order by the court that might result in incarceration or a fine.

    Conviction:

    The individual found by a court to be guilty of a criminal offense.

    Criminogenic:

    Tending to give rise to crime rates or an individual's propensity to commit crimes.

    Cruel and Unusual:

    The U.S. Constitution protects individuals from cruel and unusual punishments because they protect the person from undue suffering, pain, or humiliation.

    Cultural Competence:

    The ability to effectively interact with people of different cultures and backgrounds. Requires an awareness of diverse cultures, knowledge of culture and linguistic issues, and an open attitude toward others.

    Custody:

    Detention of a person in a jail, prison, or secure juvenile residential facility by law enforcement officers.

    Decriminalization:

    The process of reducing or eliminating penalties related to specific prohibited conduct.

    Dehumanization:

    Intentional treatment of inmates as less than human by denying them basic services, implementing harsh physical or verbal abuse, and failure to treat people with respect, compassion, or individuality.

    Deinstitutionalization:

    The systematic release of individuals from secure correctional facilities and placing them in the community.

    Delinquency:

    An illegal offense or misdeed committed by a juvenile. Also, habitual misconduct by a youth.

    Delinquent Children:

    Those in violation of criminal codes, statutes, and ordinances.

    Dependent Children:

    Those in need of proper and effective parental care or control but having no parent or guardian to provide such care.

    Detention:

    Holding suspects or defendants as they await further court processing. This usually involves a secure facility and is intended to ensure that the youth attends all of his or her scheduled hearings or does not commit further offenses pending final adjudication.

    Deterrence:

    The use of punishment or threats of punishment to discourage individuals from committing crimes.

    Disciplinary Segregation:

    Placing a youth in a separate cell or room for the purposes of punishment following an incident or rule infraction.

    Disparity:

    Differences in the handling of individuals based on their race, ethnicity, or gender.

    Diversion:

    Programs or policies designed to assist law violators to avoid criminal charges, incarceration, or criminal records.

    Due Process Rights:

    The entitlement or legally binding requirement that the individual will be subject to law enforcement, judicial, and correctional practices that are fair, clear, transparent, and reviewable by objective observers. These rights include the ability to have legal representation, to be heard, to have the proceedings recorded, and not to testify against oneself.

    DUI:

    Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated is the crime of operating a motor vehicle with impaired abilities due to alcohol or other regulated drugs. This is usually determined by measuring the level of the prohibited chemicals in the person's blood, or by the inability to perform basic movements.

    Eighth Amendment:

    Prohibits excessive bail, fines, or cruel or unusual punishments.

    Evidence-Based Practice:

    Practices that have been proven to be effective through rigorous and quantitative analysis.

    Federalism:

    The principle of government that defines the relationship between the national government and states. Each government entity has the primary responsibility for certain powers and authority; however, in some instances these may be shared.

    Fourteenth Amendment:

    No state shall make or enforce any laws that abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person within its jurisdiction of life, liberty, or property without due process and the equal protection of laws.

    Gang Injunctions:

    Laws and municipal codes that prohibit persons who are labeled as gang members to congregate in certain areas.

    Gangs:

    One or more persons who engage in criminal behavior together.

    Gender Responsive:

    Attentiveness, awareness of, and accommodations to the particular needs of women and girls.

    Global Positioning System (GPS):

    Technology used to track the location of persons under correctional supervision, usually in the form of an ankle bracelet.

    Graduated Sanctions:

    A set of correctional responses that increase in severity as the misconduct is repeated or becomes more serious.

    Grievance:

    An official statement of complaint about a wrong done to a person. Facilities must have a policy and procedure for processing and responding to inmate grievances.

    Habeas Corpus:

    A court summons that demands that the custodian present to the prisoner proof of legal authority to detain the person. Habeas corpus is a basic principle of Anglo-American law that attempts to prevent the state from detaining people capriciously or arbitrarily.

    House of Refuge:

    A type of early prison designed for juvenile delinquents; first established in New York City in 1825.

    Incapacitation:

    A way of preventing crimes by removing the offender from the community.

    Jail:

    A local correctional facility that holds persons awaiting their hearings or after conviction. Jail sentences are generally less than one year in duration.

    Jim Crow Laws:

    Laws enacted after the Civil War that enforced racial segregation and helped subjugate racial minorities.

    Jury:

    A group of citizens that assist the court in determining the guilt or innocence of an offender in a criminal trial.

    Labeling Theory:

    A powerful social science paradigm that suggested that apparently well-meaning societal interventions actually stigmatized young clients and made them worse.

    Magna Carta:

    A historic document enacted in 1215 that set out the rights of the English nobility and limited the power of the king.

    Malingering:

    Exaggerating or faking the symptoms of illness to avoid work or school and receive special care.

    Neglected Children:

    Destitute, unable to secure the basic necessities of life, or have unfit homes due to neglect or cruelty.

    Net-widening:

    Applying sanctions to persons who would otherwise be warned or released had these sanctions not existed. This can be an intended consequence of community-based programs.

    Neuroscience:

    A branch of biology that examines the development and the functioning of the human brain. This research is causing a reexamination of traditional ideas about the legal and moral culpability of very young offenders.

    Noncriminogenic Needs:

    These individual characteristics may seem to be related to law violations but have not been proven by research to be associated with crime and delinquency. Examples of these noncriminogenic factors are low self-esteem and depression or being the child of a single parent.

    Parens Patriae:

    An important legal concept that allows the state to assume the parental responsibility for minors who lack effective parental supervision.

    Parole:

    A status of being released from a secure facility after the sentence has been served. The parolee is subject to rules of supervision. In the juvenile justice system, this decision may be made by the sentencing judge, a separate parole board, or the corrections officials themselves.

    Penology:

    The study of punishment and the management of corrections facilities.

    Petition:

    A formal application made in writing to a court to request actions in a specific matter.

    Plea Bargain:

    An agreement between a prosecutor and the defendant whereby the defendant admits to an offense (usually a lesser charge) in return for some concessions by the prosecutor.

    Presentence Investigation:

    A report conducted for the court about an individual who will be sentenced by the court.

    Prevention:

    Programs designed to assist at-risk youngsters from becoming involved in criminal misconduct.

    Prison:

    A correctional facility that is designed to hold those who have been convicted in criminal courts and who will usually serve a sentence of one year or more.

    Prison Industrial Complex:

    The idea that the rapid growth in incarcerations is partly attributable to the lobbying and political influence of private companies or employee unions that benefit financially from the expansion of incarceration.

    Privatization:

    The process of outsourcing government services to private companies.

    Probable cause:

    Sufficient reason based on known facts that a crime has been committed and that the defendant was involved in that offense.

    Probation:

    A court-ordered period of supervision in the community, usually in lieu of confinement.

    Prosecutor:

    The legal entity responsible for presenting a case to the court on behalf of the public against an alleged offender.

    Prosocial:

    Actions and behaviors that are beneficial to the larger society.

    Protective Custody:

    A method of shielding a vulnerable inmate from harm from other prisoners or self-harm, usually via solitary confinement or the use of special housing units.

    Racial Profiling:

    The consideration of race, ethnicity, or national origin by law enforcement officers, based on their belief (often mistaken) that members of these groups are more likely to commit crimes.

    Random Sample:

    A small part of a larger group that is selected to represent the larger entity. Generally, this means that the selection process gives every individual an equal chance of being selected for the study group.

    Receiver:

    A person appointed by the court to oversee an organization to meet its mandated legal responsibilities and financial obligations.

    Recidivism:

    The return to criminal misconduct after been supervised or incarcerated. This is typically measured at various time intervals and may include subsequent arrests, convictions, and return to custody.

    Reentry:

    The process through which a person returns to community living after serving his or her sentence.

    Referendum:

    A form of direct democracy in which the voters may change laws through a ballot measure.

    Rehabilitation:

    Restoring or establishing an offender's ability to contribute positively to society and his or her own well-being through treatment, education, and counseling services.

    Residential:

    Facilities where corrections-involved individuals, especially juveniles, live under 24-hour, seven days a week supervision.

    Restitution:

    A repayment of money or services to the victim or society that may be part of an offender's sentence.

    Restorative Justice:

    A theory of justice that attempts to repair the harm caused to crime victims by cooperative efforts of offenders, victims, and the community.

    Retributive Justice:

    A theory of justice that seeks punishment and exacting the just deserts for a crime.

    Revocation:

    The formal removal of probation or parole status after the court determines that the offender did not meet the conditions of release, usually resulting in incarceration.

    Risk Assessment:

    The process of deciding the level of security or supervision based on an estimate that the individual will engage in future law violations. Often, the corrections officials will utilize a formal risk assessment instrument to inform this decision.

    Smart on Crime:

    A popular phrase that suggests that the best response to crime must consider the severity of the offense, the harm to victims, recidivism reduction, equity, and public safety.

    Societal Integration:

    Breaking down the barriers among different racial, ethnic, and income groups so that the less privileged can move into the mainstream of society.

    Solitary Confinement:

    Special confinement conditions in which the individual is isolated from most human contact. Solitary confinement is used as punishment or to prevent harm to self or others. Research suggests that solitary confinement may create or worsen mental health issues.

    Special Master:

    A representative of the court with specific expertise who assists the court in solving criminal justice and other issues by monitoring and writing reports.

    Status Offenses:

    Behavior that is prohibited only for minors including the consumption of alcohol, smoking, skipping school, chronic arguments with caretakers, breaking curfews, and running away.

    Stigma:

    A perceived or social stain on a person's reputation often unfairly applied due to the prejudices of others.

    Stop and Frisk:

    A program initiated in New York City to temporarily detain and search a person who may have engaged in law violations.

    Strip search:

    The search of a person's body for weapons and contraband that requires the removal of clothing.

    Technical Violation:

    A breach of supervision rules that does not constitute a law violation and would not lead to criminal proceedings. These technical violations are used by parole and probation officers to return the individual to custody.

    Therapeutic Communities:

    A rehabilitative model that emphasizes personal growth and lifestyle changes through self-help, positive reinforcements, and group decision making.

    Training School:

    A residential facility that offers confinement for juvenile offenders. These are usually locked facilities with perimeter security.

    Transfer Hearings:

    A process before a judge to determine if a minor should be prosecuted in the criminal versus juvenile court system. This is sometimes called a “fitness hearing” to determine if the youth could benefit from the services of the juvenile justice system.

    Tribal Territories:

    Also referred to as reservations, these are areas of land that are managed by the federal government and dedicated to Native peoples. These areas are sometimes governed by political entities established by the Native populations.

    Waiver:

    The transfer of juveniles to the criminal court system through laws, court hearings, or prosecutorial charging decisions.

    War on Drugs:

    The policies, laws, and law enforcement practices intended to reduce the trade and use of illegal drugs.

    Writ:

    A court order.

    Wrongful Death:

    A death that results from negligence of criminal justice officials.

    Zero Tolerance:

    A policy, usually in schools, of punishing every act of rule breaking regardless of circumstances or if the actions were accidental.

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    About the Author

    Barry Krisberg, PhD, was the president of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency from 1983 until 2010. Between 2010 and 2015, he was at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. He is known nationally for his research and expertise on juvenile justice issues and is called upon as a resource for professionals and the media. He is currently a visiting fellow at the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues at the University of California, Berkeley.


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