Answer each question minimum of 300 words. Must use provided material (PDF book ) as well as TWO add


Answer each question minimum of 300 words. Must use provided material (PDF book ) as well as TWO additional sources to help answer questions. Reference/cite in APA formatt. Here is the reference for the PDF: Elrod, P., & Ryder, R. S. (2014). Juvenile justice: a
social, historical, and legal perspective (4th ed.).
Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning. 1.)What are your state’s laws concerning the expungement and use of juvenile convictions to sentence them as an adult?2.)If you were a state senator for your state, how would you change the laws concerning juvenile records and their accessibility?

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Fourth Edition
School of Justice Studies
Eastern Kentucky University
Richmond, KY
hiStoriCAL, And
Tribal Court Administrator
Adjunct Faculty at Spring Arbor University
Kalamazoo, MI
© Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC. NOT FOR SALE OR DISTRIBUTION. 6814
The Context of Juvenile
Defining Basic Concepts and Examining Public
Perceptions of Juvenile Crime
Chapter Objectives
After studying this chapter, you should be able to
• Define basic concepts necessary for understanding the juvenile justice process
• Present a legal definition of delinquency
• Describe the shortcomings of legal definitions of delinquency
• Explain why it is important to understand diversity in the population of juvenile offenders
• Explain why age is the primary criterion for defining a juvenile from a legal perspective
• Describe the problems associated with using age to define the clients of the juvenile
justice process
I in juvenile justice practice
• Describe those factors that contribute to variation and conflict
• Explain why “juvenile justice system” may be a misleading
F term
• Describe the role that public perception plays in responding
F to the “delinquency problem”
• Assess the potential for harm that is associated with institutions
of social control
Chapter Outline
Defining Delinquency
Defining Juveniles: The Legal Perspective
The Juvenile Justice System
Public Perceptions of Delinquency and the Politics of Juvenile
S Justice
Juvenile Justice as an Institution of Social Control
Chapter Summary
Key Concepts
Review Questions
Additional Readings
© Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC. NOT FOR SALE OR DISTRIBUTION. 1592
chapter 1
The Context of Juvenile Justice
■■ Introduction
Defining and
responding to a
youth as a delinquent. Labeling can
lead to stigmatization, lost opportunities, and additional
delinquent behavior.
The creation of separate institutions for the treatment of youths who engage in illegal or
immoral behavior is a recent historical development. From the beginning of the colonial
period to the early 1800s, youths were subject to the same criminal justice process as adults.
Consequently, children who were apprehended for crimes were tried in the same courts and,
when found guilty, were often given the same punishments as adults.1
Today, most Americans are aware that a separate justice process exists for juveniles. However, many people lack an understanding of how this process works or how effective juvenile
justice programs are, and others hold views that are based more on myth than reality. Moreover,
most lack an understanding of the social, political, and economic contexts that shape juvenile
crime and juvenile justice practice.
Although many citizens lack an understanding
of the operation and effectiveness of juvenile
justice programs, they often express strong
I opinions about the causes of delinquent behavior and
how such behaviors should be handled. Such opinions are found in letters to local newspapers, in
radio talk show programs, in television commentaries,
and in the everyday discussions that people
have about current events. Some members
call for increased efforts to prevent delinD
quency and rehabilitate young offenders.EOthers call for harsher punishments for young “thugs”
and demand that youths who commit “adult” crimes be treated like adults. Similar sentiments are
found among political leaders as well. Although
rhetoric designed to capture the public’s attention
may be seen by some as “good politics,” L
it is problematic for several reasons. First, it contributes
little to the public’s understanding of juvenile crime and the development of effective methods
of responding to juvenile offenders. Second, labeling youths as “thugs” dehumanizes them and
makes it easier to respond to them in ways that protect neither their interests nor the interests
of the community. Third, inflammatoryTrhetoric about juvenile crime often results in poorly
conceived and ineffective policies that squander precious resources and lead to increased
public cynicism about our ability to deal with juvenile crime.
Young people do commit serious offenses,
although most juvenile crime does not result in
serious injury or property loss. The question
what is the best response to the illegal behavior
of youths? Which responses are more likely to help youths learn from their mistakes and make
more socially productive decisions in the future? Which responses are more likely to represent
a sound investment of public funds and N
protect community safety? These are not easy questions
to answer, but any viable response to juvenile
Y crime must be predicated on sound knowledge
of the causes of delinquency as well as a clear understanding of past and present responses to
the juvenile crime problem, including the effectiveness of those responses. A primary purpose
of this text is to help readers gain such 1
an understanding.
FY I  For Your Information
Throughout this text, important points of information that help you understand juvenile justice practice are highlighted.
Tjustice are explored in sidebars separated from the main text.
In addition, myths about the operation of juvenile
FY I  Juvenile Justice Practice
Ultimately, juvenile justice consists of a number of decision-making stages where people make determinations
about how youths should be handled when they are alleged to have broken the law or when they have been found
guilty of some offense. It is important to recognize that those making decisions about youth are not perfect, and the
information used to make decisions is sometimes incomplete or incorrect. Moreover, it is important to remember that
these decisions can have a profound influence on the lives of youths, their families, and others in the community.
© Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC. NOT FOR SALE OR DISTRIBUTION. 1592
Defining Delinquency
Although this text is intended to help students understand the social, historical, and legal
context of juvenile crime and juvenile justice, and to understand present juvenile justice responses
to juvenile crime, bear in mind that juvenile justice is ultimately a human endeavor in which
a variety of individuals, from police officers to correctional personnel, have responsibility for
making decisions about how to respond to youths’ behavior. Indeed, what makes juvenile justice
an interesting, challenging, and potentially very rewarding career is that many youths and their
families are helped by the many committed, highly trained, and caring individuals who work in
juvenile justice. However, it is also true that other youths are not helped, despite the best efforts of
juvenile justice professionals. In other instances, youths and their families are harmed, sometimes
intentionally, by those who are ostensibly charged with protecting their well-being. Unfortunately,
in some instances, those who work in juvenile justice lack the knowledge, training, support, and
commitment necessary for effective practice. Our goal in this text is to point out the many positive
things that occur in juvenile justice, but also to balance our presentation by critically examining
many of the problems that have historically plagued juvenile
justice operations in the United
States. We also provide descriptions of juvenile justice D
practices in other countries in sections
that focus on comparative juvenile justice throughout the text in order to give readers insights on
other approaches to juvenile justice. Globalization can already be seen in juvenile justice practice,
E to expand in the future. Although
and we can expect the sharing of ideas about juvenile justice
people in other countries have learned from our experiences
L in juvenile justice, both good and
bad, we can also learn important lessons from others.
This chapter is intended to introduce the basic concepts necessary for understanding
, delinquency. Next, it provides a
present juvenile justice practice. It begins by defining
profile of juvenile offenders, examines public perceptions of delinquency (which form an
important part of the contemporary context of juvenile justice), and explores the concept
of a juvenile justice system.
juvenile justice
The examination of
juvenile justice history and practice in
one country or culture by comparing it
with the history and
practice of juvenile
justice in another
country or culture.
■■ Defining Delinquency
From a legal standpoint, delinquency consists of those behaviors
that are prohibited by the famF
ily or juvenile code of the state and that subject minors (i.e., persons not legally adults) to the
jurisdiction of the juvenile court. Behaviors prohibited by juvenile codes can be grouped into
N as criminal offenses if committed
two general categories: (1) behaviors that would be defined
by adults (e.g., malicious destruction of property, larceny,
Y robbery, motor vehicle theft, etc.),
and (2) behaviors that are prohibited only for minors, which are called status offenses (e.g.,
school truancy, running away from home, incorrigibility, etc.).
compar ative focu s
Comparative Juvenile Justice Focus
According to Dammer and Albanese in their book Comparative Criminal Justice Systems, there are three practiT “(1) to benefit from the experience of
cal reasons for studying criminal justice in other countries or cultures:
others, (2) to broaden our understanding of different cultures and
Sapproaches to2 problems, and (3) to help us
deal with the many transnational crime problems that plague our world today.”
Although the preceding definition of delinquency is technically accurate, like all legal
definitions, it fails to completely capture the complex human dimension of delinquency and
juvenile justice responses to youths’ illegal behaviors. For example, police respond to only some
of the actions that are legally defined as delinquent. Police often ignore some (typically minor)
illegal behaviors that are prohibited by legal codes. Also, how police respond to youths alleged
to be engaged in illegal behavior can vary considerably from one community to another. Police
in one community may arrest youths who do not go to school, whereas in another community,
© Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC. NOT FOR SALE OR DISTRIBUTION. 1592
Behaviors that fall
within the jurisdiction of the juvenile
court and result in
processing by official
juvenile justice
status offenses
Acts that are
considered illegal
when committed
by a minor but not
when committed by
an adult (e.g., running away, school
truancy, and failure
to obey parents’
A geographic area
subject to a particular law or court and
in which particular
law enforcement
agencies and individuals have legal
chapter 1
The Context of Juvenile Justice
failure to attend school receives little attention from the authorities. Moreover, the delinquent
activities of some youths tend to be more visible than the activities of others, thus increasing the likelihood that certain youths will come to the attention of the police and be labeled
delinquents. In addition, factors such as youths’ demeanor, the demands of complainants, and,
in some circumstances, youths’ race and gender, can also influence police decisions. Defining
delinquency as behavior that violates the legal code ignores these nuances in juvenile justice
practice. In recognition of these realities, some have suggested that a more useful definition of
delinquency would focus on those acts that official agents select for enforcement rather than
on all legally prohibited behaviors.3 From this perspective, delinquency actually represents a
sample of those behaviors prohibited by state law, and delinquents are, for all practical purposes,
youths who are “caught” and subject to formal processing by the authorities.
Another problem with using a legal definition is that such definitions cover an extremely
broad range of behaviors, from incorrigibility (i.e., not obeying one’s parents) to serious crimiI standpoint, almost all minors could be considered
nal actions (e.g., homicide). From a legal
delinquents because most youths engage
D in at least one illegal behavior at some time during
their juvenile years. For example, research conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention revealed that approximately 80% of high school seniors reported using alcoE 46% reported using marijuana.4 The percentage
hol during their lifetime, and approximately
of youths who fail to obey their parents,
L also illegal in many jurisdictions , is likely to be even
higher. According to a strict legal definition, most youths would be considered delinquents,
even though most people would not consider many of these youths to be delinquents, nor
would they consider their actions to be, illegal.
There are additional problems with legal definitions of delinquency. Legal definitions do
not make a distinction between those who are caught and those who engage in delinquent
behavior. Yet this distinction may be important
because those who are caught may be subject
I Moreover, we should not assume that our reactions
to the loss or restriction of their freedom.
to juvenile offenders will necessarily lead
F to a cessation of their illegal behavior. As Harold
Garfinkel notes, the process of labeling a youth a delinquent may be seen as a status degradation
ceremony through which the youth’s identity
is (possibly) transformed into a lesser form of
humanity. Not only may labeling causeAthe individual to see him- or herself differently (e.g.,
as a troublemaker, thief, or delinquent),Nbut it also may cause others to respond differently or
avoid the person, leading to rejection and the restriction of law-abiding opportunities. This,
in turn, can increase the likelihood of further
FY I  The Saints and the Roughnecks
In a classic study of delinquency, “The Saints and the Roughnecks,” William Chambliss pointed out that lower6
class youths, who tend to be visible to the community,
nonmobile, and not very adept at meeting the social
expectations of authorities, are more likely to be
punishment than affluent youths, who are generally
less visible and more mobile. By observing the Saints, eight white males from solid middle-class families,
T Chambliss discovered that the Saints actually engaged in
and the Roughnecks, six lower-class white males,
more frequent delinquent behaviors than the S
Roughnecks, who engaged in somewhat more serious behaviors,
such as fighting and property offenses. The Roughnecks, however, were more likely to be seen as delinquents
destined for lives of trouble than the Saints, who were seen as upstanding students with bright futures.
In explaining the difference in the reaction to these two groups, Chambliss stated that the Roughnecks’ activities
took place within the purview of the community because the Roughnecks did not have access to cars. In contrast, the
Saints, who had access to cars, were able to travel to the periphery of town or to other towns. Thus, their delinquent
behaviors were less visible. Furthermore, Chambliss noted that, during contact with the authorities, the demeanor of
the Saints allowed them to avoid difficulty. The Saints generally responded in ways that were felt to be more acceptable by authority figures. As a result, the authorities possessed a perceptual bias that led them to see lower-class
youths as more problematic—a bias reinforced by the visibility of the Roughnecks and their lack of social skills.7
© Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC. NOT FOR SALE OR DISTRIBUTION. 1592
Defining Delinquency
Youths’ Behavior
Myth—Youths should always be punished when they violate the law.
Reality—Sometimes our responses to youths can increase the 8
likelihood of further deviant behavior, which
sociologist Edwin Lemert called “secondary deviance.” Lemert T
claimed that persons may engage in initial
acts of deviance, such as delinquency, for a variety of reasons. Lemert termed such deviance “primary deviance.” However, through repeated interaction between someone S
identified as deviant and authority figures, a
Myth vs Rea lity  Punishment Is Not Always an Effective Response to
process that may involve labeling and stigmatization, the individual may reorganize his or her identity around
a more deviant role, thus increasing the likelihood of further acts of deviance. This secondary deviance is not
a product of the original factors that produced the initial acts of deviance, but an adjustment to or a means
of defense against societal reactions to the primary deviance.14
Although the preceding studies do not address the possible positive effects of labeling, such
as the avoidance of negative behaviors out of fear of receiving a negative label or the potential
deterrent effects of shame and embarrassment associated with criminal justice involvement,
© Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC. NOT FOR SALE OR DISTRIBUTION. 1592
© Doug Menuez/Photodisc/Getty Images
A number of studies have uncovered the problems
faced by persons who are given negative labels such
as mental patients, youths identified as delinquents,
and those convicted of crimes. For example, Charles
Frazier documented the problems experienced by
“Ken,” a young man who lived in a small town and was
labeled a “criminal” at a public trial. Subsequent to his
official labeling, people began to see previous events
in Ken’s life as indications of deviance. In addition,
former friends and associates began to reject Ken, and their rejection led Ken to see himself
as a criminal.8 Research by Christine Bodwitch that examined school disciplinary practices
revealed that students who were seen as delinquents by school administrators were more
likely to receive more severe disciplinary responses, such as suspension, transfer to another
I States and in the Netherlands have
school, or even explusion.9 Moreover, studies in the United
highlighted the problems faced by “offenders” in theirD
efforts to seek employment.10 In these
studies, prospective employers were given job applications of fictitious persons that contained
varying amounts of information regarding criminal involvement. Not surprisingly, both studies
found that employers were more likely to consider a prospective
candidate with no criminal
history than a candidate with a criminal history.
The labeling perspective predicts that system involvement may lead to negative outL
comes because it can limit youths’ educational, social, and employment opportunities.
Support for this argument was found in research conducted
in Rochester, New York, that
examined a representative sample of males over a nine-year period from the time the
subjects were approximately age 13 years until they were approximately age 22 years. The
T process decreases the odds that
researchers found that involvement in the juvenile justice
youths will graduate from high school, and that educational
success is related to future
employment prospects. In addition, involvement in the
F juvenile justice process was found
to increase the odds that those youths will engage in crime in their young adult years.
F were particularly strong for ecoMoreover, the negative effects of system involvement
A 11 Efforts to examine the effect of
nomically disadvantaged and African American youths.
race on system processing indicate that being a minority
youth is often associated with
more severe dispositions12 and that minority youths may be viewed less sympathetically
by juvenile court judges.13
chapter 1
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