Source: (2004) Howard Law Journal. 47: 909-942.
According to Monya Bunch, historically America has approached young people in divergent, even contradictory ways. One approach stems more from a desire to protect and nurture children. The other stems more from a fear of children. The juvenile justice system has reflected this dichotomy over its history. Currently, claims Bunch, the juvenile justice system seems characterized more by fear of youth and punishment of young offenders. Evidence is seen in the increasing tendency to transfer offending youth, especially African American youth, from the juvenile system to adult courts. In view of this, Bunch argues in this essay that procedural policies regarding juvenile transfer hearings and sentencing guidelines must be re-evaluated. The focus should change from an emphasis on punishment of young offenders to a perspective that includes assistance for crime victims and repair of communities. Alternative responses to juvenile crime, such as the restorative justice movement, may prove more appropriate and effective in dealing with at least certain juvenile offenses.
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