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When the cure makes you ill: Seven core principles to change the course of youth justice

Prisco, Gabrielle
June 4, 2015

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.


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