Source: Paper presented at the University of Massachusetts Boston Conflict Studies Conference, held in Boston, Massachusetts.

According to Erica Brown, the purpose of the juvenile justice system in California is to rehabilitate juvenile offenders to combat current crime issues and prevent future crime. Recently, California initiated a more punitive approach to dealing with juvenile delinquent behavior. Brown maintains that this approach is flawed because punitive measures do not address the more basic problems that youth offenders face, such as how to resolve peer conflicts. Hence, while she does not advocate in this paper the elimination of punishment, she argues that the individual needs of juveniles must be addressed. There are rehabilitative methods that may be more effective in addressing those needs. Mediation is a rehabilitative method that can address both the individual needs of juvenile offenders and vindicate the crime committed.