The Juvenile Justice System And Public Schools

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In the last thirty years, the approaches and tools used in the modern adult criminal-justice system have begun to influence our school practices. This has created a system that removes the most vulnerable children from mainstream educational environments and puts them on a direct path toward prison. The overrepresentation of juveniles with disabilities within this system has been repeatedly demonstrated in research. National reports suggest that almost one third of students in juvenile detention and confinement facilities were receiving special education services.1 Based on the review of literature, I will discuss some of the issues within our juvenile justice system and public schools. I will address the following questions: 1. Why…show more content…
In fact, according to a report by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, Up until the late 18th century, children below the age of reason (traditionally age 7) were presumed to be incapable of criminal intent and were, therefore, exempt from prosecution and punishment. Children as young as 7, however, could stand trial in criminal court for offenses committed and, if found guilty, could be sentenced to prison or even death.3 The juvenile court system thrived in the United States for the first half of the 20th century. There was a focus on offenders and not offenses. Rehabilitation was emphasized rather than punishment. In the 1980s, there was a policy shift toward laws that were tougher on crime. The public perceived that violent and serious juvenile crime was rising and that the system in place was not effective. Mostly, this was due to a misunderstanding regarding the increase of juvenile crime. Regardless of that, many states passed laws that mandated tougher punishments.4 This shift in public and political perception created a phenomenon that has continued to develop since the early nineties– zero-tolerance policies. The adoption of these policies in school discipline practices has considerably increased the number of children and adolescents suspended, expelled, and arrested for minor offenses in school.5 In recent years, we have seen public schools
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