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Chapter 1: Superpredators and other Myths about Juvenile Delinquency
The juvenile justice field is littered with myths, for no apparent reason. This chapter explores key myths that have been promoted recently. First, what is a myth? Bernard (1992) describes myths as “beliefs about the past that are strongly held and convenient to believe but are based on little actual information. Myths are not necessarily false—people generally just don't know or care whether they are true or false. They hold the belief because it is convenient to do so” (p. 11) (“In Focus” Box 1.1). We begin this chapter by focusing on the most bizarre myth ever perpetrated about juvenile delinquency—the “superpredator”—after which other popular myths are discussed.