Current Practice in the Juvenile Justice System

nasjjButts, Jeffrey [committee member] with Simon Singer (2013).  Current Practice in the Juvenile Justice System (Chapter 3, pp. 49-88). In Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Developmental Approach. Richard J. Bonnie, Robert L. Johnson, Betty M. Chemers, and Julie A. Schuck (Editors). Washington, DC: National Research Council of the National Academies.

Report in Brief

Juvenile justice is a highly varied process that is shaped by law and driven by local practice. Youth coming into the justice system— usually after an arrest by law enforcement— are screened and assessed by various organizations and individuals. The charges against them are reviewed for legal sufficiency, and a formalized court process may be used to establish their culpable commission of a criminal act. If the case merits some type of intervention, other actors in the justice system attempt to match the youth with an appropriate and cost-effective program or sanction. The availability and suitability of programs often influences the outcome of earlier decisions.