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Federal Probation Journal - December 1999

Federal Probation Journal (December 1999) is dedicated to informing its readers about current thought, research, and practice in corrections and criminal justice. Explore the issue.

This Issue in Brief

This Special Issue of Federal Probation, marking the 100th anniversary of the Juvenile Justice system in this country, has been produced under the guest editorship of the Honorable Theodore McMillian, of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Prior to serving on the 8th Circuit, Judge McMillian was a Missouri Court of Appeals judge, and during that period he heard cases in the juvenile court of St. Louis for several years. Out of Judge McMillian’s experience with the juvenile court, he has contributed observations and reflections for the lead article, “Early Modern Juvenile Justice in St. Louis.” We thank Judge McMillian for graciously consenting to be guest editor on this important anniversary, and for sharing the benefits of his experience.

Ellen Wilson Fielding
Editor

Early Modern Juvenile Justice in St. Louis

By Theodore McMillian

The juvenile court system, on both the state and federal levels, has gone through many changes in its 100-year existence. Among these are the extension of legal protections to juveniles as a result of In re Gault and the increase in the prosecution of children as adults for certain offenses. The Hon. Theodore McMillian, who serves as guest editor of this issue of Federal Probation, describes some of the changes he observed and participated in first as a state trial judge and then as a circuit judge assigned to the juvenile division in St. Louis, Missouri in the 1960s.

Pending Juvenile Legislation

By David N. Adair, Daniel A. Cunningham

Traditionally in our legal system, the primary responsibility for apprehending, adjudicating, and treating juvenile criminals has rested with the states. In recent years, Congress has considered bills expanding federal jurisdiction over juveniles. This past year, interest in such legislation was heightened by violent events such as the shootings in Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Authors David N. Adair and Daniel A. Cunningham discuss provisions of the House and Senate versions of the 1999 juvenile crime bills considered by Congress.

Punitive Juvenile Justice Policies and the Impact on Minority Youth

By Michael Finley, Marc Schindler

As more than 40 states have amended their laws to allow for the increased prosecution of children in adult court, minority youth are over-represented at every stage of the juvenile justice system. Many states have begun to recognize this problem and are establishing creative partnerships to address the over-representation of minority youth in the juvenile justice system. Authors Michael Finley and Marc Schindler discuss punitive policies regarding youthful misconduct, the impact of these policies on minority youth, and some of the strategies employed by states to address the problem.

Successful Strategies for Reforming Juvenile Detention

By Bart Lubow

Despite a hostile policy environment, three jurisdictions that participated in a foundation-supported comprehensive juvenile detention reform initiative made significant strides in reducing inappropriate admissions, shortening processing times, and improving failure-to-appear and pretrial re-arrest rates. Author Bart Lubow offers their experiences as evidence that collaboratively conceived, data-driven policies and programs can transform many of today’s chronically crowded, idiosyncratic detention systems into models of fairness, efficiency, and effectiveness.

Lessons Learned from Boston’s PoliceCommunity Collaboration

By Jenny Berrien, Christopher Winship

In the past decade, Boston has both dramatically reduced its homicide rate and improved policecommunity relations. In contrast, New York City has succeeded in reducing crime, but at the cost of substantial protests, particularly from minorities, at police behavior. Authors Jenny Berrien and Christopher Winship look at the path Boston has taken and four lessons that may be drawn by other municipalities seeking to replicate the Boston experience.

Interagency Collaboration in Juvenile Justice: Learning From Experience

By Jodi Lane, Susan Turner

Beginning in the early 1990s, researchers and funding agencies began to focus on collaboration as a key element to successful programs aimed at decreasing crime and other problem behaviors in at-risk youth. As the new millennium begins, funding entities for justice programs continue to push for interagency collaboration. In this article, authors Jodi Lane and Susan Turner lend guidance to juvenile justice personnel who are developing new collaborative programs by discussing some of the lessons learned by South Oxnard Challenge Project personnel in developing and implementing a new interagency juvenile justice program in Ventura County, CA.

Juveniles and Computers: Should We Be Concerned?

By Arthur L. Bowker

The computer age has brought numerous changes, greatly facilitating communication and increasing educational opportunities for our youth. Unfortunately, it has also opened up new opportunities for delinquency. Juveniles are now using computers to commit fraud and counterfeiting offenses that were once only adult offenses, expanding the monetary costs of delinquency. In addition, juveniles can now use computers to commit offenses across the country or even around the world. Author Arthur L. Bowker explores the ramifications of “computer delinquency” and why it needs to be addressed in this article on a brave new world of offending.

Multicultural Implications of Restorative Juvenile Justice

By Mark S. Umbreit, Robert B. Coates

Restorative Justice practices–particularly various forms of victim, offender, family, or community dialogue–are proving especially useful in juvenile justice settings. Authors Mark S. Umbreit and Robert B. Coates believe the field must become more sensitive to differing cross-cultural perspectives. Working with persons of different cultures can be replete with potential dangers and pitfalls. In this article, the authors present pitfalls that may hamper restorative justice efforts carried out within crosscultural contexts, along with ways of increasing the likelihood of positive interactions when working with persons of differing cultural backgrounds.

When Should Juveniles Be Treated as Adults?

By Laurence Steinberg, Elizabeth Cauffman

At a time when more juveniles are being tried as adults, many questions are raised about who should qualify for adult criminal status. Authors Laurence Steinberg and Elizabeth Cauffman, whose backgrounds are in psychology and psychiatry, add the perspective of developmental psychology to this debate. They describe formative stages of psychological and intellectual maturity and accountability, and also discuss “amenability,” or the extent to which an individual’s nature has the possibility of changing. The youth or adolescent’s greater potential for rehabilitation may affect the kinds of punishment, interventions, and treatment options considered for him.

Biosocial Risk Factors and Juvenile Violence

By Patricia Brennan

Author Patricia Brennan outlines the role that biological factors may play in the prediction of juvenile violence. Early life risk factors such as perinatal complications are reviewed, as well as recent work on brain functioning and violence. Physiological functioning and responsiveness to stress are considered as possible predictors of violent behavior in two different types of juvenile offenders–those whose behavior occurs in response to provocation and those who appear to be relatively unresponsive to stress and threats in the environment. The interactive nature of biology and environment is discussed along with potential implications for treatment and prevention of juvenile violence.

Juvenile Justice in Transition: Is There a Future?

By Alvin W. Cohn

Author Alvin W. Cohn tracks the course of the juvenile justice system through stages in which rehabilitation and treatment concerns predominated to the current more adversarial and punitive model. He focuses on the extent to which strategic changes in juvenile justice operations have been externally imposed by superordinates, elected officials, and legislators, rather than internally generated by reflection on successes and failures in management structures and approaches. While change is probably needed in the juvenile justice system, it should be guided and controlled, and neither reactive nor proactive but coactive through strategic planning and evaluative research.

The Unique Circumstances of Native American Juveniles Under Federal Supervision

By Brenda Donelan

Native Americans not only constitute the bulk of federal juveniles currently under supervision, but present unique challenges for probation and pretrial officers seeking to acknowledge and to some degree incorporate traditional Indian perceptions of wrongdoing and methods of dealing with crime. For example, Indian communities traditionally favor education, mentoring, and treatment over punishment, and their concept of family is more extensive than that of the larger culture. Author Brenda Donelan discusses these and other differences and suggests ways federal probation and pretrial officers can best supervise this unique population.

Legal Issues in Juvenile Drug Testing

By Rolando V. del Carmen, Maldine Beth Barnhill

Juvenile drug testing is used throughout most of the juvenile justice systems in the country for juveniles on probation and in institutions. Drug testing of both juveniles and adults has been discussed in a number of recent court cases because of potential issues of self-incrimination, unreasonable search and seizures, and the like. Authors Rolando V. del Carmen and Maldine Beth Barnhill survey these and other legal issues in juvenile drug testing, and provide recommendations for establishing a legally defensible drug testing program for juvenile justice.

“Up to Speed”–Juvenile Probation on the Eve of the Next Millennium

By Ronald P. Corbett, Jr.

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