NOTE: First meeting of course will be on Monday, September 9, 2013.
Children have received special and separate treatment before the criminal law for centuries, but the juvenile justice system is a relatively modern institution that is little more than a century old. This course will explore the jurisprudence, law and practice of juvenile justice in the United States. Through analyses of legal theory, policy, case law, and social science evidence, students will examine topics including: the culpability of children for criminal acts, unique criminal laws and procedures that govern the legal responses to children who break the law, and the societal responses of punishment and protection of adolescent offenders. Recent and significant changes in juvenile justice policy will be examined and analyzed, and located in the context of patterns and explanations of juvenile crime and the social construction of adolescence. Contemporary controversies in juvenile justice and recent Supreme Court cases will serve as topics for student debates and hypotheticals. The course complements current offerings on children and the law and family with minimal overlap by focusing in depth on the conceptual bases and modern practices of contemporary juvenile justice. Students will use case decisions, empirical research, and practice materials to analyze topics from both policy and legal perspectives.