Recent Trends of Juvenile Justice Policies in the U. S. A.

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  • 米国における少年司法政策の動向と子供観・人間観の変化
  • ベイコク ニ オケル ショウネン シホウ セイサク ノ ドウコウ ト コドモカ
  • Sociological Analysis of Their Backgrounds

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Abstract

Juvenile justice policies had been developing smoothly up until the 1960's, backed up by the rehabilitation ideology. But, they have been drastically changing for two decades. The rehabilitative idea and its institutions supported by traditional liberals have come under heavy cross-fire from labeling theorists, just desert liberals, and deterrence conservatives.<BR>The latest reforms are summarized;(1) Juvenile offenders should be processed in the same way as adult cases, (2) The medical model must be removed, which is exemplified by the growing interest in offences (not offenders), mechanized justice to eliminate discretions, and so on.<BR>The equal treatment between juveniles and adults is facilitated by the disappearance of childhood. The concept of childhood is becoming extinct because of mutual causalities of the following factors.<BR>The escalation of an adult-centered society forces children to become precocious and independent early. The children's rights movement claims equal rights with adults, but rationalizes the lesser protection of children in the aging of society. Popularization of Freudian idea has changed the concept of children and the method of child-rearing. Transition from printed media to TV media enables the undifferentiated accessibility to, and the total disclosure of, all kinds of information monopolized by adults before. On the other hand, childish adults are increasing. So, the boundary between childish adults and adultlike children is blurring.<BR>The decline of the rehabilitative ideal is a good example of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Pessimistic atmosphere has become prevalent after President Kennedy's assassination. American reliance on establishment in general, and on the juvenile justice system has lapsed. Public opinion which became disap-pointed in the rehabilitative function of correctional institutions has undermined the real activities of these systems.<BR>The malleability of human character is a dependent variable of the contemporary concept about human nature. Present juvenile offenders are next to incurable because almost all people have lost their faith and hope in their corrigibility. It is only with the rejection of social fatalism implied in the notion of unchangeable human nature that the tragic circle can be broken.

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