Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952415 | Print ISBN: 9780761926498 | Online ISBN: 9781412952415| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Juvenile crime has occurred for centuries, as has the debate regarding the age of criminal responsibility. Before the 20th century, punishment consisted of severe discipline, and children were seen more as property than as people. In the United States, juveniles have been treated differently from adults in the criminal justice system for only a little over 100 years, but even today, states differ about the age of responsibility for various juvenile crimes. By the early 20th century, all of the states had established separate juvenile courts under the parens patriae doctrine. Parens patriae establishes the role of law enforcement and the criminal justice system as a protective entity commissioned to rehabilitate delinquent youth. Juveniles act differently from adults because of a variety of developmental reasons, such as immaturity and inexperience. As a result, juveniles are sometimes held to different legal expectations and punishments. Because of these differences, law enforcement Over ...