Source: (2012) New York Law School Law Review vol 56

Our nation's current youth justice' system is iatrogenic, 2 a term that refers to a cure that worsens the very thing it is trying to fix.3 The system's operation often results in increased violence and recidivism, the very same outcomes it allegedly intends to remedy. Many Americans, regardless of their political affiliation, would agree that children who commit harmful acts should be held accountable in proportion to the act committed and provided with meaningful help and opportunity to change, and that the operation of the youth justice system should not result in increased violence and criminality.4 Yet our current youth justice system routinely fails to meet these goals and instead systematically fails young people,s their families, crime victims, and public safety, often at exorbitant taxpayer cost. Additionally, there are often vast disconnects between the severity of the acts for which children are in court and the system's responses. Children are frequently, particularly children of color and those with social service needs, harshly punished and isolated for low-level and non-violent offenses.