Source: (1997) Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges Cmssn.
The new purpose clause in Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Act is premised on the concepts that clients of the juvenile justice system should include the victim, the community, and the offender and that each should receive “balanced attention” and gain tangible benefits from their interactions with the juvenile justice system. These concepts also require that the juvenile justice system address goals regarding community protection, offender accountability, and the development of competencies in each case and that system balance be sought through the allocation of resources necessary to achieve the goals associated with each client. The idea of a balanced approach to juvenile justice is based on restorative versus retributive justice. While retributive justice responds to crime as an act against the government, restorative justice gives priority to repairing the harm done to victims and communities and defines offender accountability in terms of assuming responsibility and taking action to repair harm. Provisions of Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Act delineate a new mission for the juvenile justice system that focuses on community protection, accountability, competency development, individualization, and balance. The juvenile justice system is examined in relation to the changing roles of judges, juvenile justice system professionals, crime victims, communities, and juvenile offenders. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.org.
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