Juvenile Court Movement

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction / Juvenile Justice

The Juvenile Court Movement refers to a period of reform and innovation in the American justice system during the late 19th and early 20th centuries that led to the creation of a separate justice system for juveniles.

The movement was sparked by a growing concern for the welfare of young offenders and the recognition that the traditional criminal justice system was not equipped to handle the unique needs of juvenile offenders.

The Juvenile Court Movement led to the creation of the first juvenile court in Chicago in 1899, which was designed to be a more rehabilitative and therapeutic system for young offenders. The juvenile court system was based on the principle of “parens patriae,” which means “parent of the country” in Latin, and reflects the belief that the state has a duty to protect and care for children who need assistance or who have been neglected or abused.

The Juvenile Court Movement also brought about significant changes in how juvenile offenders were treated. Rather than punishing young offenders for their crimes, the focus shifted to providing them with guidance, counseling, and education that could help them avoid future involvement in the justice system.

Overall, the Juvenile Court Movement represents a significant shift in how society views and treats juvenile offenders and reflects a growing recognition of the importance of providing young people with the support and resources they need to become productive and law-abiding members of society.

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Last Modified: 03/09/2023


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