Source: (2004) University of Pennsylvania Law Review. 152(3): 1181-1219.

This Comment evaluates and exposes the realities of inflexible penalties for youth as well as unearths the spectrum of equitable alternatives to the “get-toughâ€? model. To begin the exploration of this continuum, Part I focuses on the existing disciplinary system in the majority of states. Section A supplies a recent chronology of the zero-tolerance movement in schools and discusses the socio-political and legal factors which surround the zealous retributive trend. Section B examines the realities of school crime, questioning the appropriateness of mandatory suspension/expulsion measures in addressing the daily deviance of young students. Part II then focuses on the simultaneous upsurge in the imposition of formal sanctions by the juvenile justice system. Sections A and B assess how the disciplinary goals and tactics of educational facilities have begun to overlap with those of the juvenile justice system, creating a type of “dual enforcementâ€? wherein the institutions share information, authority, and social functions. Section C documents the social and legal entrenchment of this pervasive, punitive mentality. Part III, however, identifies a reasonable alternative to such hardnosed, retributive recourse: restorative justice. Section A first explains the general restorative theory, next references particular models for the implementation of restorative justice, and lastly, offers examples of successful, real-world applications. Section B details the benefits of supplementing harsh punishments with a more individualized and integrative forum. After summarizing the administrative, social, and personal advantages incurred through restorative justice practices, Section B concludes with an emphasis on the critical potential for reintegration generated by such mechanisms and a report on restorative justice’s recent success. (excerpt)

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