Child Saving in the 21st Century: An Examination of Court Structures on Juvenile Justice Processing

Erika Gebo, Westfield State College

While legislatures continue to add punitive components to juvenile codes, a seemingly contradictory process is happening on the juvenile court level. Courts are experimenting with different court structures, in particular, a family court system, which can be considered as a return to the rehabilitative ideal. This study examines juvenile case processing differences in an experimental family court system and a traditional district court system in one state. Analyses show that while the experimental family court system is more bureaucratic, it tends to process cases in a manner consistent with rehabilitative predictions. Results further suggest that family court outcomes should be examined more closely before full-scale implementation

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Updated 05/20/2006