Part of a special issue on the administration of juvenile justice. The writer contends that the misperception of increasing youth violence has resulted in a proposed national youth policy based on fear not fact. Juvenile crime statistics have actually fallen in recent years, and, more importantly, there has been no sustained trend of increase or decrease in youth violence over the past 20 years. The issue of adolescent violence must be considered within the larger perspective of legal policy toward youth, particularly in relation to the pivotal issues of adolescent gun policy, transfer of youths to criminal courts, and penal treatment of adolescent killers.

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