Chapter

the Impact of Law Reform: Deinstitutionalization in Law and Practice in the United States

in Justice for Girls?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780226770048
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226770062 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226770062.003.0005
the Impact of Law Reform: Deinstitutionalization in Law and Practice in the United States

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The last forty years of the twentieth century were a turbulent period for youth justice in both Canada and the United States. The 1974 Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act was the first substantial piece of federal juvenile justice legislation that affected juvenile justice in the individual states. One of the main goals of this act was to deinstitutionalize status offenders. The deinstitutionalization goal, however, could be seen as conflicting with intervention. This chapter explores how the tension between wanting to intervene and wanting not to incarcerate youths for non-criminal behaviors played out, focusing on the youth court processing (for example, bringing the juvenile into court, adjudicating the delinquent, and sentencing the offender to custody) of status offenses. It looks at two types of relatively minor offending — obstructing justice and disorderly conduct — in order to see if there are any consistencies in how these status-type offenses are handled for boys and girls.

Keywords: Canada; United States; youth justice; deinstitutionalization; intervention; court processing; custody; status offenses; obstructing justice; disorderly conduct

Chapter.  9610 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Criminal Law

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