Evolution of the Juvenile Justice System

The Juvenile Justice System is the constitutional organization used to deal and address with the youth below eighteen years who are arrested and charged with crimes (Champion, 2014). It intervenes in delinquent behavior through correctional involvement, court, and the police.

The court systems were first formed during the progressive era where lots of children were convicted and locked up with other adults in cells. The activists came to realize that these children were learning criminal behavior from the old ones. Once the children were released, they joined the world of criminality. The separate systems were formed to curb this issue.

The initial institutions were based on the Bridewell institution. The institution emphasized on teaching the children different trade and life skills from the ones they were used to (Whitehead, 2015). They had the idea that the criminal behavior was due to bad exposure of criminal behavior. The youth were more likely to take a different path once released if they were taught a different way of making a living.

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Over time, other institutions were developed to reform the youth. The houses of refuge mainly centered on reeducating the youth and focused on promoting discipline and order. They used a military model. New reformatories were sort of family focused and were based on farms where the youth engaged in hard labor. After these institutions overcrowded, they formed a new one for girls which taught them childrearing and domestic skills.

The current juvenile system is not as effective as it should be. The detained youth are more likely to return to prison at some point in their lives compared to the ones sentenced to different punishments like home monitoring (Rempe, 2013). They are also less likely to graduate from high school, and building friendships with other felons would most probably lead to the formation of gangs. The facilities are just incubators for future hardcore criminals.



Champion, D. (2014). The juvenile justice system (1st ed.).

Rempe, S. (2013). How Effective Is Juvenile Detention? – Prison FellowshipPrison Fellowship. Retrieved 27 April 2017, from https://www.prisonfellowship.org/2013/06/how-effective-is-juvenile-detention/

Whitehead, J. (2015). Juvenile justice (1st ed.).