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Teen Court

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  • アメリカ少年司法における"ティーンコート(Teen Court)"
  • アメリカ ショウネン シホウ ニ オケル ティーン コート Teen Cour

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Abstract

This note describes the background and concept of the Teen Court which is one of the diversion programs in American Juvenile Justice Systems, analyzes its meanings and functions and clarifies some problems of it. In 1983, the first Teen Court was established in Odessa, Texas, with the proposal of Prof. Rothstein. The aim of it is to turn peer pressure and peer power from something that has always had a very negative influence to something very positive. With the success of declining recidivism rates of juveniles who were referred to Teen Courts, the Courts were appraised by many communities and have widespread all over the U.S.A. This note, however, clarifies some problems of Teen Court. First of all, there is disagreement about the estimation of the decline of recidivism rates. Therefore, we can not conclude that Teen Court program is useful. Secondly, Teen Court does not deal with serious delinquents in a meaningful way. We must treat both felony and misdemeanor juveniles similarly in the Juvenile Justice Systems. Finally, teen juries tend to be tougher on juveniles that formal court judges. Juveniles who are referred to Teen Courts are forced to be exposed to tougher sentences than first-time juveniles and adult offenders dealt with in formal courts. We must overcome this problem of inequality.

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