Source: (2002) In, Nicholas Bala, et. al., eds. Juvenile Justice Systems: An International Comparison of Problems and Solutions. Pp. 43-65.

As Howard Snyder notes, the United States does not have a national juvenile justice system. The U.S. Constitution and relevant federal policies and laws yield certain common features across the nation, yet each state has its own juvenile justice system. These systems vary substantially from state to state in mission, scope, and procedure. With so many variations, there is considerable opportunity to test different approaches and new programs. At the same time, the variations make it very difficult to describe succinctly the delivery of juvenile justice in the U.S. With all of this in mind, and after a profile of the U.S., including significant social policy issues related to children and youth, Snyder covers trends in offending behavior by juveniles in the U.S., and attempts to sketch major features of juvenile justice across the U.S.