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Conceptualizing Legal Childhood In The Twenty-First Century, Elizabeth S. Scott, Clare Huntington Jan 2019

Conceptualizing Legal Childhood In The Twenty-First Century, Elizabeth S. Scott, Clare Huntington

Faculty Scholarship

The law governing children is complex, sometimes appearing almost incoherent. The relatively simple framework established in the Progressive era, in which parents had primary authority over children, subject to limited state oversight, has broken down over the past few decades. Lawmakers started granting children some adult rights and privileges, raising questions about their traditional status as vulnerable, dependent, and legally incompetent beings. As children emerged as legal persons, children’s rights advocates challenged the rationale for parental authority, contending that robust parental rights often harm children. And a wave of punitive reforms in response to juvenile crime in the 1990s ...


Young Adulthood As A Transitional Legal Category: Science, Social Change And Justice Policy, Elizabeth S. Scott, Richard J. Bonnie, Laurence Steinberg Jan 2018

Young Adulthood As A Transitional Legal Category: Science, Social Change And Justice Policy, Elizabeth S. Scott, Richard J. Bonnie, Laurence Steinberg

Faculty Scholarship

In the past decade, developmental brain research has had an important influence on juvenile crime regulation. More recently, advocates and some policy makers have argued that the developmental research should shape the law’s response to young adult offenders. Developmental scientists have found that biological and psychological development continues into the early 20, and that 18 to 21 year old adults are more like younger adolescents than older adults in their impulsivity under some conditions. Further, like teenagers, young adults engage in risky behavior, such as drinking, smoking, unsafe sex, using drugs, and offending, to a greater extent than older ...


Brain Development, Social Context And Justice Policy, Elizabeth S. Scott, Natasha Duell, Laurence Steinberg Jan 2018

Brain Development, Social Context And Justice Policy, Elizabeth S. Scott, Natasha Duell, Laurence Steinberg

Faculty Scholarship

Justice policy reform in the past decade has been driven by research evidence indicating that brain development is ongoing through adolescence, and that neurological and psychological immaturity likely contributes in important ways to teenagers’ involvement in crime. But despite the power of this trend, skeptics point out that many (perhaps most) adolescents do not engage in serious criminal activity; on this basis, critics argue that normative biological and psychological factors associated with adolescence are unlikely to play the important role in juvenile offending that is posited by supporters of the reform trend. This Article explains that features associated with biological ...


Aggressive Policing And The Educational Performance Of Minority Youth, Joscha Legewie, Jeffrey A. Fagan Jan 2018

Aggressive Policing And The Educational Performance Of Minority Youth, Joscha Legewie, Jeffrey A. Fagan

Faculty Scholarship

An increasing number of minority youth are confronted with the criminal justice system. But how does the expansion of police presence in poor urban communities affect educational outcomes? Previous research points at multiple mechanisms with opposing effects. This article presents the first causal evidence of the impact of aggressive policing on the educational performance of minority youth. Under Operation Impact, the New York Police Department (NYPD) saturated high crime areas with additional police officers with the mission to engage in aggressive, order maintenance policing. To estimate the effect, we use administrative data from about 250,000 adolescents aged 9 to ...


How Should Justice Policy Treat Young Offenders?, Bj Casey, Richard J. Bonnie, Andre Davis, David L. Faigman, Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones, Read Montague, Stephen J. Morse, Marcus E. Raichle, Jennifer E. Richeson, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg, Kim Taylor-Thompson, Anthony Wagner Jan 2017

How Should Justice Policy Treat Young Offenders?, Bj Casey, Richard J. Bonnie, Andre Davis, David L. Faigman, Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones, Read Montague, Stephen J. Morse, Marcus E. Raichle, Jennifer E. Richeson, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg, Kim Taylor-Thompson, Anthony Wagner

Faculty Scholarship

The justice system in the United States has long recognized that juvenile offenders are not the same as adults, and has tried to incorporate those differences into law and policy. But only in recent decades have behavioral scientists and neuroscientists, along with policymakers, looked rigorously at developmental differences, seeking answers to two overarching questions: Are young offenders, purely by virtue of their immaturity, different from older individuals who commit crimes? And, if they are, how should justice policy take this into account?

A growing body of research on adolescent development now confirms that teenagers are indeed inherently different from adults ...


Young Adulthood As A Transitional Legal Category: Science, Social Change, And Justice Policy, Elizabeth S. Scott, Richard J. Bonnie, Laurence Steinberg Jan 2016

Young Adulthood As A Transitional Legal Category: Science, Social Change, And Justice Policy, Elizabeth S. Scott, Richard J. Bonnie, Laurence Steinberg

Faculty Scholarship

In the past decade, much attention has focused on developmental brain research and its implications for the regulation of crime. Public and policy interest has been directed primarily toward juveniles. In light of recent research, courts and legislatures increasingly have rejected the punitive response of the 1990s and embraced a developmental approach to young offenders. Of particular importance in propelling this trend has been the framework offered by the U.S. Supreme Court in a series of Eighth Amendment opinions that have rejected harsh adult sentences for juveniles. These decisions, supported by adolescent brain research, rested on two empirically based ...


Juvenile Sentencing Reform In A Constitutional Framework, Elizabeth S. Scott, Thomas Grisso, Marsha Levick, Laurence Steinberg Jan 2016

Juvenile Sentencing Reform In A Constitutional Framework, Elizabeth S. Scott, Thomas Grisso, Marsha Levick, Laurence Steinberg

Faculty Scholarship

In the past decade, the Supreme Court has transformed the constitutional landscape of juvenile crime regulation. In three strongly worded opinions, the Court held that imposing harsh criminal sentences on juvenile offenders violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Roper v Simmons in 2005 prohibited the imposition of the death penalty for a crime committed by a juvenile. Five years later, Graham v. Florida held that no juvenile could be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) for a nonhomicide offense. Then in 2012, Miller v. Alabama struck down statutes that required courts to sentence ...


The Supreme Court And The Transformation Of Juvenile Sentencing, Elizabeth S. Scott, Thomas Grisso, Marsha Levick, Laurence Steinberg Jan 2015

The Supreme Court And The Transformation Of Juvenile Sentencing, Elizabeth S. Scott, Thomas Grisso, Marsha Levick, Laurence Steinberg

Faculty Scholarship

In the past decade, the Supreme Court has transformed the constitutional landscape of juvenile crime regulation. In three strongly worded opinions, the Court held that imposing harsh criminal sentences on juvenile offenders violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. In combination, these cases create a special status for juveniles under Eighth Amendment doctrine as a category of offenders whose culpability is mitigated by their youth and immaturity, even for the most serious offenses. The Court also emphasized that juveniles are more likely to reform than adult offenders, and that most should be given a meaningful opportunity to ...


Children's Health In A Legal Framework, Elizabeth S. Scott, Clare Huntington Jan 2014

Children's Health In A Legal Framework, Elizabeth S. Scott, Clare Huntington

Faculty Scholarship

The interdisciplinary periodical Future of Children has dedicated an issue to children’s health policy. This contribution to the issue maps the legal landscape influencing policy choices. The authors demonstrate that in the U.S. legal system, parents have robust rights, grounded in the Constitution, to make decisions concerning their children’s health and medical treatment. Following from its commitment to parental rights, the system typically assumes the interests of parents and children are aligned, even when that assumption seems questionable. Thus, for example, parents who would limit their children’s access to health care on the basis of the ...


Judicial Leadership In Family Court: A Cautionary Tale, Jane M. Spinak Jan 2014

Judicial Leadership In Family Court: A Cautionary Tale, Jane M. Spinak

Faculty Scholarship

This article is based on the Charles Miller Endowed Lecture given at the University of Tennessee College of Law in April 2014 and forms the core of a chapter about judicial leadership in the family court in a planned book about the court. A central element of the historical juvenile court and the ensuing family courts has been the role of the judge as a judicial leader, shouldering responsibilities, including therapeutic ones, far beyond those of the traditional legal decision-maker. These multiple roles – as investigator, collaborator, convener, advocate, mediator, and problem-solver – have given the family court judge tremendous power to ...


Justice Policy Reform For High-Risk Juveniles: Using Science To Achieve Large-Scale Crime Reduction, Jennifer L. Skeem, Elizabeth S. Scott, Edward Mulvey Jan 2014

Justice Policy Reform For High-Risk Juveniles: Using Science To Achieve Large-Scale Crime Reduction, Jennifer L. Skeem, Elizabeth S. Scott, Edward Mulvey

Faculty Scholarship

After a distinctly punitive era, a period of remarkable reform in juvenile crime regulation has begun. Practical urgency has fueled interest in both crime reduction and research on the prediction and malleability of criminal behavior. In this rapidly changing context, high-risk youth – the small proportion of the population where crime is concentrated – present a conundrum. Research indicates that these are precisely the individuals to intensively treat to maximize crime reduction, but there are both real and imagined barriers to doing so. Institutional placement or criminal court processing can exclude these youths from interventions that would better protect public safety. In ...


"Children Are Different": Constitutional Values And Justice Policy, Elizabeth S. Scott Jan 2013

"Children Are Different": Constitutional Values And Justice Policy, Elizabeth S. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

This essay explores the importance for Eighth Amendment jurisprudence and for juvenile crime regulation of Miller v. Alabama (2012) and two earlier Supreme Court opinions rejecting harsh sentences for juveniles. It argues that the Court has broken new ground in defining juveniles as a category of offenders who are subject to special Eighth Amendment protections. In Miller and in Graham v. Florida (2010) particularly, the Court has applied to juveniles' non-capital sentences the rigorous proportionality review that, for adults, has been reserved for death sentences. The essay then turns to the implications of the opinions for juvenile crime policy, arguing ...


Miller V. Alabama And The (Past And) Future Of Juvenile Justice Policy, Elizabeth S. Scott Jan 2013

Miller V. Alabama And The (Past And) Future Of Juvenile Justice Policy, Elizabeth S. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

This essay was the keynote address for a symposium on Miller v Alabama, the 2012 Supreme Court opinion holding unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment a statute imposing a mandatory sentence of life without parole for juveniles convicted of homicide. The essay argues that Miller embodies a way of thinking about juvenile crime that has taken hold in the early 21st century – an approach that emphasizes the importance for legal policy of developmental differences between juveniles and adults. This emerging trend contrasts sharply with the regulatory approach of the 1990s when moral panics over juvenile crime fueled punitive law reforms that ...


"Children Are Different": Constitutional Values And Justice Policy, Elizabeth S. Scott Jan 2012

"Children Are Different": Constitutional Values And Justice Policy, Elizabeth S. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

This essay explores the importance of Miller and two earlier Supreme Court opinions rejecting harsh sentences for juveniles for Eighth Amendment jurisprudence and for juvenile crime regulation. It argues that the Court has broken new ground with these opinions in defining juveniles as a category of offenders who are subject to special Eighth Amendment protections. In Miller and in Graham v. Florida (2010) particularly, the Court has applied to juveniles’ non-capital sentences the rigorous proportionality review that, for adults, has been reserved for death sentences. The essay then turns to the implications of the opinions for juvenile crime policy, arguing ...


Juvenile Incarceration And The Pains Of Imprisonment, Jeffrey Fagan, Aaron Kupchik Jan 2011

Juvenile Incarceration And The Pains Of Imprisonment, Jeffrey Fagan, Aaron Kupchik

Faculty Scholarship

The nationwide trend to criminalize juvenile delinquency in the 1980s and 1990s resulted in the placement of large numbers of adolescent criminal offenders in adult correctional facilities. Prior research has assessed the consequences of this practice through comparisons of youth in juvenile corrections with youths placed in adult prisons and jails. These studies minimized the pains of imprisonment for youth who continue to be placed in juvenile correctional facilities by comparing their conditions to the more violent and toxic conditions of confinement in adult institutions. In this article, we more carefully assess the conditions of confinement within a broader range ...


Moral Disengagement Among Serious Juvenile Offenders: A Longitudinal Study Of The Relations Between Morally Disengaged Attitudes And Offending, Jeffrey Fagan, Elizabeth P. Shulman, Elizabeth Cauffman, Alex R. Piquero Jan 2011

Moral Disengagement Among Serious Juvenile Offenders: A Longitudinal Study Of The Relations Between Morally Disengaged Attitudes And Offending, Jeffrey Fagan, Elizabeth P. Shulman, Elizabeth Cauffman, Alex R. Piquero

Faculty Scholarship

The present study investigates the relation between moral disengagement – one’s willingness to conditionally endorse transgressive behavior – and ongoing offending in a sample of adolescent male felony offenders (N=1,169). In addition, the study attempts to rule out callous-unemotional traits as a third variable responsible for observed associations between moral disengagement and offending. A bivariate latent change score analysis suggests that reduction in moral disengagement helps to speed decline in self-reported antisocial behavior, even after adjusting for the potential confound of callous-unemotional traits. Declines in moral disengagement are also associated with declining likelihood of offending, based on official records ...


Social Welfare And Fairness In Juvenile Crime Regulation, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg Jan 2010

Social Welfare And Fairness In Juvenile Crime Regulation, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg

Faculty Scholarship

The question of how lawmakers should respond to developmental differences between adolescents and adults in formulating juvenile crime policy has been the subject of debate for a generation. A theme of the punitive law reforms that dismantled the traditional juvenile justice system in the 1980s and 1990s was that adolescents were not different from adults in any way that was relevant to criminal punishment – or at least that any differences were trumped by the demands of public safety. But this view has been challenged in recent years; scholars and courts have recognized that adolescents, due to their developmental immaturity, are ...


Social Welfare And Fairness In Juvenile Crime Regulation, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg Jan 2010

Social Welfare And Fairness In Juvenile Crime Regulation, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg

Faculty Scholarship

This Article argues that a developmental model of juvenile crime regulation grounded in scientific knowledge about adolescence is both more likely to promote social welfare and is fairer to young offenders than a regime that fails to attend to developmental research. We focus on the less familiar social welfare argument for a separate and more lenient juvenile justice system, and demonstrate that the punitive law reforms of the 1990s have failed to minimize the social cost of juvenile crime. The expanded use of adult incarceration likely contributed to the declining juvenile crime rates since the mid-1990s, but the financial costs ...


The Contradictions Of Juvenile Crime & Punishment, Jeffrey Fagan Jan 2010

The Contradictions Of Juvenile Crime & Punishment, Jeffrey Fagan

Faculty Scholarship

This essay explores the contradictions and puzzles of modern juvenile justice, and illustrates the enduring power of the child-saving philosophy of the juvenile court in an era of punitiveness toward offenders both young and old. The exponential growth in incarceration in the U.S. since the 1970s has been more restrained for juveniles than adults, even in the face of a youth violence epidemic that lasted for nearly a decade. Rhetoric has grown harsher in the wake of moral panics about youth crime, juvenile codes now express the language of retribution and incapacitation, yet the growth in incarceration of juveniles ...


Decisional Dignity: Teenage Abortion, Bypass Hearings, And The Misuse Of Law, Carol Sanger Jan 2009

Decisional Dignity: Teenage Abortion, Bypass Hearings, And The Misuse Of Law, Carol Sanger

Faculty Scholarship

How might we think about reforming abortion regulation in a world in which the basic legality of abortion may, as a matter of constitutional law, at last be relatively secure? I have in mind the era just upon us in which the overturn of Roe v. Wadeno longer looms so threateningly over the reproductive rights community in the United States and is no longer necessarily its central concern. There is now a general and seemingly well-founded optimism that under the Obama administration, those who support and rely on reproductive rights will not have to pray nightly for the health ...


Juvenile Crime And Criminal Justice: Resolving Border Disputes, Jeffrey Fagan Jan 2008

Juvenile Crime And Criminal Justice: Resolving Border Disputes, Jeffrey Fagan

Faculty Scholarship

Rising juvenile crime rates over three decades spurred legal mobilizations within many state legislatures to vastly expand the transfer of adolescent criminal offenders under the age of eighteen to the jurisdiction of the criminal court. The proliferation of transfer regimes over the past several decades calls into question the very rationale for a juvenile court. Both the boundaries for transfer and mechanisms to effect it were redesigned. This redrawing of the boundary between the juvenile and adult justice systems resulted in a wholesale movement of large numbers of juveniles into the adult system, while stripping juvenile court judges of the ...


Rethinking Juvenile Justice, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg Jan 2008

Rethinking Juvenile Justice, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg

Faculty Scholarship

Legal reforms over the past generation have transformed juvenile crime regulation from a system that viewed most youth crime as the product of immaturity into one that is ready to hold many youths to the standard of accountability imposed on adults. Supporters of these reforms argue that they are simply a response to the inability of the traditional juvenile court to deal adequately with violent youth crime, but the legal changes that have transformed the system have often been undertaken in an atmosphere of moral panic, with little deliberation about consequences and costs.

In this book we argue that a ...


Framing Family Court Through The Lens Of Accountability, Jane M. Spinak Jan 2007

Framing Family Court Through The Lens Of Accountability, Jane M. Spinak

Faculty Scholarship

Abolish Family Court. Merge it. Restructure it. Give it more power; give it less. Whatever recommendations were made during the two-day conference, not a single participant said that the current Court functioned well. That's hardly surprising. Barely twenty-five years after the first juvenile court was created, some of its chief protagonists expressed alarm about the Court's functioning. Those concerns are eerily similar to some of the current critiques that surfaced at the conference: insufficient resources, inadequate preventive services to keep children out of court, an overwhelmed probation service, judges without ample understanding of the complexities of families' lives ...


Adolescence And The Regulation Of Youth Crime, Elizabeth S. Scott Jan 2007

Adolescence And The Regulation Of Youth Crime, Elizabeth S. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

Recently, American juvenile justice policy has undergone dramatic changes. In less than a generation, a justice system that viewed most lawbreakers as youngsters whose crimes were the product of immaturity has been transformed into one that often holds young offenders to the same standard of criminal accountability it imposes on adults – and generally pays little attention to differences between adolescents and adults. This essay, based on a forthcoming book by the author and developmental psychologist Laurence Steinberg, argues that scientific knowledge about adolescence and about the role of criminal activity during this developmental period is critically important as a foundation ...


Building Criminal Capital Behind Bars: Peer Effects In Juvenile Corrections, Patrick J. Bayer, Randi Hjalmarsson, David Pozen Jan 2007

Building Criminal Capital Behind Bars: Peer Effects In Juvenile Corrections, Patrick J. Bayer, Randi Hjalmarsson, David Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

This paper analyzes the influence that juvenile offenders serving time in the same correctional facility have on each other's subsequent criminal behavior. The analysis is based on data on over 8,000 individuals serving time in 169 juvenile correctional facilities during a two-year period in Florida. These data provide a complete record of past crimes, facility assignments, and arrests and adjudications in the year following release for each individual. To control for the non-random assignment to facilities, we include facility and facility-by-prior offense fixed effects, thereby estimating peer effects using only within-facility variation over time. We find strong evidence ...


Disparity Rules, Olatunde C.A. Johnson Jan 2007

Disparity Rules, Olatunde C.A. Johnson

Faculty Scholarship

In 1992, Congress required states receiving federal juvenile justice funds to reduce racial disparities in the confinement rates of minority juveniles. This provision, now known as the disproportionate minority contact standard (DMC), is potentially more far-reaching than traditional disparate impact standards: It requires the reduction of racial disparities regardless of whether those disparities were motivated by intentional discrimination orjustified by "legitimate" agency interests. Instead, the statute encourages states to address how their practices exacerbate racial disadvantage.

This Article casts the DMC standard as a partial response to the failure of constitutional and statutory standards to discourage actions that produce racial ...


Adolescence And The Regulation Of Youth Crime, Elizabeth S. Scott Jan 2006

Adolescence And The Regulation Of Youth Crime, Elizabeth S. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

I am delighted to be a part of this Symposium on Law and Adolescence. My talk today is about adolescent development and juvenile justice policy. Specifically, I will focus on why a legal regime that is grounded in scientific knowledge about adolescence and the role of criminal activity during this developmental period is better for young offenders and for society than the contemporary policy, which often pays little attention to differences between adolescents and adults.

My talk is based on a book on juvenile justice policy I am currently writing with Larry Steinberg, a developmental psychologist who is a leading ...


Public Preferences For Rehabilitation Versus Incarceration Of Juvenile Offenders: Evidence From A Contingent Valuation Survey, Daniel S. Nagin, Alex R. Piquero, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg Jan 2006

Public Preferences For Rehabilitation Versus Incarceration Of Juvenile Offenders: Evidence From A Contingent Valuation Survey, Daniel S. Nagin, Alex R. Piquero, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg

Faculty Scholarship

Research Summary:
Accurately gauging the public's support for alternative responses to juvenile offending is important, because policy makers often justify expenditures for punitive juvenile justice reforms on the basis of popular demand for tougher policies. In this study, we assess public support for both punitively and nonpunitively oriented juvenile justice policies by measuring respondents' willingness to pay for various policy proposals. We employ a methodology known as "contingent valuation" (CV) that permits the comparison of respondents' willingness to pay (WTP) for competing policy alternatives. Specifically, we compare CV-based estimates for the public's WTP for two distinctively different responses ...


Rational Choice And Developmental Influences On Recidivism Among Adolescent Felony Offenders, Jeffrey Fagan, Alex R. Piquero Jan 2006

Rational Choice And Developmental Influences On Recidivism Among Adolescent Felony Offenders, Jeffrey Fagan, Alex R. Piquero

Faculty Scholarship

Recent law and scholarship has claimed that the developmental limitations of adolescents affect their capacity for control and decision making with respect to crime, diminishing their culpability and reducing their exposure to punishment. Social science has focused on two concurrent adolescent developmental influence: the internalization of legal rules and norms that regulate social and antisocial behaviors, and the development of rational thought to frame behavioral choices and decisions. The interaction of these two developmental processes, and the identification of one domain of socialization and development as the primary source of motivation or restraint in adolescence, is the focus of this ...


Public Attitudes About The Culpability And Punishment Of Young Offenders, Elizabeth S. Scott, N. Dickon Reppucci, Jill Antonishak, Jennifer T. Degennaro Jan 2006

Public Attitudes About The Culpability And Punishment Of Young Offenders, Elizabeth S. Scott, N. Dickon Reppucci, Jill Antonishak, Jennifer T. Degennaro

Faculty Scholarship

Conventional wisdom holds that the public supports harsh punishment of juvenile offenders, and politicians often argue that the public demands tough policies. But public opinion is usually gauged through simplistic polls, often conducted in the wake of highly publicized violent crimes by juveniles. This study seeks to probe public opinion about the culpability of young offenders as compared to adult counterparts through more nuanced and comprehensive measures in a neutral setting (i.e. not in response to a high profile crime or during a political campaign when the media focuses on the issue). The opinions of 788 community adults were ...