Juvenile Justice and Social Policy
Juveniles are accorded special status under the American legal system. This introductory course will examine the historical precedents and philosophical reasons for treating juveniles differently from adults, and review empirical evidence about child development that can illuminate the reasons for their special status within the court system. Students will learn about the distribution of juvenile delinquency and the impact of significant social and institutional influences on delinquency: family, school, peers, and drugs.nThe course will also provide a detailed overview of the juvenile system, from its beginning to the current state of the institution, which will include a review of police work with juveniles, pretrial procedures, and the juvenile court and corrections systems. Major court rulings that have shaped contemporary juvenile justice will be presented. Finally, the course will consider dispositional options available to Courts, and will identify the most effective in reducing delinquency. By the conclusion of this course, students should have an understanding of the juvenile justice system and how it compares with the adult justice system, what programs work to reduce recidivism, and be cognizant of some of the major legal and policy issues confronting that system today.nThe course format will combine lecture, group discussions, and guest presentations. Students may also have the opportunity to observe the juvenile justice system first hand by attending a juvenile court session, visiting a correctional facility for adjudicated delinquents, and hearing directly from those who work with high-risk youth on probation or in the community.nWritten Work. Each student will write two essays over the course of the quarter, about 13 pages each. Each of these essays will respond to a specific question I pose to you and the due dates will be contained in the course syllabus. The two questions will ask you to critically assess the issues, methods, and policy implications in the readings and class discussions.nElements used in grading: Final grades will be based on the two essays (40% each) and class participation (20%).nWriting (W) credit is for 3Ls only. nThis course is open to first-year Law School students.