• Melanie TaylorEmail author


The juvenile justice system in the United States has long been oriented toward the rehabilitation of delinquents, but the system grew increasingly punitive beginning in the 1960s. Due in part to the rise of juvenile delinquency in the 1980s and a shift in perceptions of the blameworthiness of juveniles, a growing number of juveniles were punished formally in the system. The punitive orientation began spilling over into schools, where zero-tolerance policies and policing in schools have become standard. Responses by courts also demonstrate this punitive shift, as the ability to transfer juveniles to criminal courts became easier and delinquents who previously would have been dealt with informally in the system were punished via alternative sanctions (e.g., boot camps). Finally, despite policies to eliminate the confinement of status offenders and prevent juveniles from being confined with adults, loopholes exist that allow these practices to continue. However, several recent changes in the juvenile justice system show that the punitive tide may have turned. Most notably, juveniles can no longer be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for any offense or face capital punishment. A growing recognition that detention and harsh punishment of juveniles are largely ineffective has also led practitioners to consider alternatives to detention and rehabilitative options for juveniles.


Punishment orientation Policing in schools Status offenders Court transfer Alternative sanctions 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminal JusticeUniversity of Nevada, RenoRenoUSA

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