Countries have developed a broad range of options for addressing juvenile crime. Finland and Germany are among those that largely favor the use of social welfare and educational practices over incarceration. The United States traditionally favors detention of juvenile offenders, with over 50,000 people under the age of 18 currently in U.S. detention centers. However, the use of evidence-based alternative treatments in the United States continues to grow. Researchers worldwide search for better policies and advocate for more effective practices that may rehabilitate juvenile offenders and reduce recidivism. Criminal justice professionals should critically evaluate the juvenile justice practices and policies of other countries that can inform potential changes in their own practice.
Review the Learning Resources and compare the American criminal justice system’s treatment of juvenile offenders to that by other countries. Research juvenile rights or laws in the United States and in one additional country. Consider how the country you selected categorizes and processes juvenile offenders compared to the United States.
Provide a comparison of the American juvenile justice policy to the policy in the country you selected. Explain the similarities and differences between the two policies. Then, based on your comparison, explain which policy you think is most appropriate, and why. Is one country too lenient or too harsh? Why? Be sure to address in your response the social and cultural differences between the two countries.
- This web page presents an overview of best practices for the reduction of juvenile violence.
- Griffin, P., Addie, S., Adams, B., & Firestine, K. (2011, September). Trying juveniles as adults: An analysis of state transfer laws and reporting. Juvenile Offenders and Victims: National Report Series. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/232434.pdf
This article provides an extensive overview of transfer law by state, including changes and shifts in transfer laws over time. Though it provides a significant comparison of the use of transfer laws among states, it notes significant gaps due to lack of comparable data. The article closes with a brief explanation of the impact of transfer laws.
- Justice Policy Institute. (2011). Finding direction: Expanding criminal justice options by considering policies of other nations. Retrieved from http://www.justicepolicy.org/uploads/justicepolicy/documents/juvenile_justice.pdf
This factsheet provides a brief overview of a study comparing U.S. juvenile justice practices. It presents comparative statics of incarceration rates and age of responsibility. It highlights alternative methods for rehabilitating juvenile offenders throughout Europe and Australia as well as the United States.
- Teigan, A. (2014). Juvenile age of jurisdiction and transfer to adult court laws. Retrieved from http://www.ncsl.org/research/civil-and-criminal-justice/juvenile-age-of-jurisdiction-and-transfer-to-adult-court-laws.aspx
The article offers a graphical representation of the age at which an individual can be tried as an adult in each state. It also outlines the four different types of transfer laws that allow juveniles to be tried as adults.
- Thornberry, T. P., Huzinga, D., & Loeber, R. (2004, September). The causes and correlates studies: Findings and policy implications. Juvenile Justice, IX(1), 3–19. Retrieved from http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/203555.pdf
This research article describes the findings and implications of studies on delinquency.
- Wasserman, G. A., Miller, L. S., & Cothern, L. (2000, May). Prevention of serious and violent juvenile offending. Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Retrieved from http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/178898.pdf
This article highlights factors known to impact juvenile offending.
- Document: Policy Project Overview (PDF)
This document provides an overview of the Policy Project along with detailed requirements for each part.
- Democracy Now. (2014, February 4). Kids for cash: Inside one of the nation’s most shocking juvenile justice scandals [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.democracynow.org/2014/2/4/kids_for_cash_inside_one_of
This news report highlights a particular case of corruption in the Pennsylvania Juvenile Justice System involving a judge convicted of accepting kickbacks for sentencing juvenile offenders to detention facilities.