Juvenile Justice Code Purpose Clauses: The Power of Words


The perception that juvenile crime is out of control and that the juve nile justice system is too lenient on offenders has led to a reevaluation, in popular discourse and academic scholarship, of the goals of the juvenile justice system. This article seeks to determine the extent to which "get tough" rhetoric has been operationalized by legislatures in the purpose clause of the juvenile justice code. The purpose clause is found at the beginning of a code section. It serves the function of explaining the goals of that section of the code, outlining what the legislature hopes to accom plish through the code. We examine juvenile justice code purpose claus es to determine which states still adhere to the traditional model of juve nile justice, which states have adopted a punitive approach, which states have endorsed the balanced approach, and which states have failed to adopt a coherent set of goals for the juvenile justice system.


Criminology and Criminal Justice

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Criminal Justice Policy Review