|About the Book|
From the Foreword: Wedged squarely between the mandate to assure due process, the compelling State interest in protecting and rehabilitating minor children, geometrically expanding caseloads, rapidly eroding resources, and an unprecedentedMoreFrom the Foreword: Wedged squarely between the mandate to assure due process, the compelling State interest in protecting and rehabilitating minor children, geometrically expanding caseloads, rapidly eroding resources, and an unprecedented escalation in public demands for pounds of flesh to assuage our fears of juvenile crime, the Nations juvenile courts are finding it increasingly difficult to move young offenders through the legal process with dispatch.This unique volume is the first major study of processing delays in the history of U.S. juvenile courts. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justices Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Delays in Juvenile Justice Sanctions Project was conducted at the National Center for Juvenile Justice, the research division of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.The speed of the juvenile justice process is a crucial element in its fairness and effectiveness. Nobody benefits when the juvenile justice system takes six months to respond to the first suspected burglary of a 14-year-old youth. If innocent, the juvenile lives unjustly under suspicion for six months. If not innocent, the juvenile is allowed to continue behavior that could eventually lead to more serious social harm and result in more severe legal sanctions. Six months of waiting may mean that the juvenile justice system misses an opportunity to intervene swiftly in the early stages of a budding criminal career and the community continues to lose confidence in an essential public institution charged with protecting the public safety and public welfare.From the Preface:Chapter 1 of this volume discusses the social, legal, and organizational issues related to delays in the juvenile justice system. Chapter 2 presents findings from the research literature on the causes of delay in both the juvenile court and the adult justice system. Chapter 3 summarizes findings from a survey of judges, attorneys, and administrators from 123 local juvenile justice systems. Chapter 4 presents three case studies of delinquency processing practices and delay problems in urban juvenile courts. Chapter 5 analyzes national patterns in delinquency case processing time using delinquency case records contributed to the National Juvenile Court Data Archive by jurisdictions across the country. Chapter 6 presents the projects conclusions and recommendations for juvenile justice professionals and policy makers.