Abstract

A review essay on books by: John R. Sutton, Stubborn Children: Controlling Delinquency in the United States 1640-1981 (Berkeley: U of California Press, 1988); & Ira M. Schwartz, (In)Justice for Juveniles: Rethinking the Best Interest of the Child (Lexington, Mass: Lexington Books, 1989 [see listings in IRPS No. 59]). These works provide an understanding of the political context & emergence of juvenile justice policies. Using a theory to explain changes in ideology, Stubborn Children examines the problems that were responsible for the development of juvenile justice. It is suggested that Sutton provides an impressive account of historical developments, which begin with the Puritans & culminate in the decarceration movement of the 1970s. The book is critized for its tendency to use a "top-down" approach, & inattention to the work of ordinary people. (In)Justice for Juveniles offers an inside account of the problems a reformer in the juvenile justice system must confront. Drawing on experience as an administrator in the federal office of the Juvenile Justice program, Schwartz traces the myths behind juvenile crime & the tendency of reformers to ignore the continuing abuses & maltreatment of children, & also presents profiles of successful & failed efforts to reform the system. However, in general, both books provide pessimistic accounts of the juvenile justice system. L. Baker

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