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What’s “New” About the Balanced Approach?

Bazemore, Gordon
June 4, 2015

Source: (1997) Juvenile and Family Court Journal. 48(1): 1-22.

The “Balanced Approach” aims to achieve balance at a system level as administrators ensure that resources are allocated equally among efforts to ensure accountability to crime victims, to increase competency in offenders, and to enhance community safety. Balance is achieved in each case by giving equal attention to broader needs that underlie new sanctioning, safety, and rehabilitative goals. From a restorative perspective, true “balance” in juvenile justice is to be gauged by the system’s effectiveness in meeting the needs of victims and communities, as well as offenders, and involving each as clients or coparticipants in the justice process. Core elements of this restorative vision and much of the difference between the new system envisioned and current alternatives are encompassed in community-building interventions. This paper distinguishes this “Balanced Approach” from other juvenile justice philosophies by its new values, new clients, new decisionmaking processes, new performance outcomes, new program priorities, and new roles and resource allocation. A table outlines the “Balanced Approach’s” responsibilities for and to crime victims; offenders; and citizens, families, and community groups. The paper concludes with a discussion of the viability and practicality of the “Balanced Approach” to juvenile justice. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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