Juvenile Justice: Then and Now

Juvenile Justice: Then and Now
Some material taken from Juvenile
Delinquency: Theory, Practics and Law,
Siegel, L.J. & Welsh, B.C. 10th Ed. 2009
Early 1800’s
Parens Patriae
• Latin – The doctrine that grants inherent
power and authority to the state to protect
persons who are legally unable to act on their
own behalf.
• Has its roots in the Common Law of England.
• The King (Queen) exercising his role as the
father of the country could.
Parents Patriae (continued)
• In the US the “doctrine has its greatest
application in the treatment of children,
mentally ill persons, and others who are
legally incompetent to manage their affairs.”
• Ex parte Crouse (1839) Supreme Court of
• Law enforcement officers, think of the ex-parte
orders you serve.
• Urbanization & industrialization
• Large scale immigration
• Local jurisdictions provided poorhouses
(almshouses) and workhouses.
• Settlement houses – Shelters or non-secure
residences for vagrant children
Child Saving Movement
• Society for the Prevention of Pauperism
(New York – 1816). Led to forming the House
of Refuge – 1825 in New York City. In 1828,
Boston House of Refuge was founded.
• Activists in the movement were known as
“child savers.” They believed runaway and
delinquent children were a threat to the moral
fabric of America.
Child Savers
To this day there is controversy. Some
historians believe they were concerned
citizens motivated by humanitarian ideals.
Others believe they were upper-class citizens
trying to protect their life-styles from the poor.
Important evens mid-1800s
• 1847 – State institutions for juvenile
delinquents in Boston & New York
Known as reform schools or reformatories,
the coming decades would see the spread of
such instititutions.
• Children Aid Society, 1853. Children shipped
to rural areas/farms. Known as orphan trains.
Procedure lasted into the 20th century.
Important Events late 19th Century
• 1874 Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Children (SPCC) formed. Agents granted
power to remove children from abuse.
Advised court on placement. Influenced
• The Illinois Juvenile Court Act of 1899.
The first independent juvenile court.
Recognized difference between delinquency
and dependency.
Important events first half of 20th
• 1912- U.S. Children’s Bureau formed as first
federal child welfare agency. By 1930s was
monitoring state juvenile institutions for
• 1900-1925 – Spread of juvenile courts to
almost all states.
• 1910 – Beginning of compulsory school acts.