10.1. Youth Crime

Alison S. Burke

Since the early 1990s, America has witnessed an increase in the fear of youth crime. [1] Sensationalized media exposure in the 1990s facilitated the public’s fear of youth crime, which resulted in tough legislation and a perceived need to “do something” about juvenile crime. [2] The juvenile court was criticized for its inability to control youth crime and, as a result, policies shifted from rehabilitation to punishment of juvenile offenders. [3] This punishment included an increase in the number of states that adopted new legislation or revised their previous statutes to facilitate the transfer of youthful offenders from juvenile court to criminal court to be tried as adults. [4]

Ted Talks: Jeffrey Brown An architect of the “Boston miracle,” Rev. Jeffrey Brown started as a bewildered young pastor watching his Boston neighborhood fall apart around him, as drugs and gang violence took hold of the kids on the streets. The first step to recovery: Listen to those kids don’t just preach to them and help them reduce violence in their neighborhoods. It’s a powerful talk about listening to make a change. https://www.ted.com/talks/jeffrey_brown_how_we_cut_youth_violence_in_boston_by_79_percent?language=en#t-24954


  1. Benekos, P., & Merlo, A. (2004). Controversies in juvenile justice and delinquency. Anderson Publishing.
  2. Myers, D.L. (2001). Excluding violent youth from the juvenile court: The effectiveness of legislative waiver.New York: LBF Scholarly Press.
  3. Feld, B.C. (2001). Race, youth violence, and the changing jurisprudence of waiver. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 19(1), 3-22.
  4. Snyder, H. N., & Sickmund, M. (2006). Juvenile offenders and victims: 2006 National Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention


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