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African-American Youth in The Juvenile Justice System

African-American Youth in The Juvenile Justice System

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I. Introduction The American Juvenile Justice System The American juvenile justice system is the primary system used to handle youth who are convicted of criminal offenses. The juvenile justice system intervenes in delinquent behavior through police, court, and correctional involvement, with the goal of rehabilitation. Youth and their guardians can face a variety of consequences including probation, community service, youth court, youth incarceration and alternative schooling. The juvenile justice system, similar to the adult system, operates from a belief that intervening early in delinquent behavior will deter adolescents from engaging in criminal behavior as adults. Pre-1900 History and Background Juvenile delinquency punishments trace back to the Middle Ages when crimes were severely punished by the Church. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, few legal differences existed between children and adults. Children as young as six and seven years were considered productive members of the family and their labor contributed to family income. In court, children as young as seven were treated as adults and could Page 17 of 114

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