Source: (2001) Oregon Law Review. 80: 1.

In the effort to toughen responses to juvenile crime, policymakers and legislators in the United States have moved toward parental responsibility laws – laws whereby parents can be held criminally and civilly responsible for offenses committed by their children. This movement is part of the increasing criminalization of juvenile delinquency – that is, the trend to treat juveniles who commit offenses not as juveniles but as adults to be dealt with in the adult criminal justice system, with emphases on retribution and deterrence. Difonzo claims the reasons for these trends are contradictory. The rationale for holding parents responsible is that juveniles are immature and not truly or fully responsible. The rationale for criminalizing juvenile offenders as adults is that they must be held truly or fully responsible for their actions. Difonzo contends against these trends in this paper.


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