The first juvenile court in the United States was established in Illinois in 1899. The purpose of its development was to establish an atmosphere of rehabilitation rather than punishment as was seen in the criminal court system. In the past quarter century, a greater number of violent crimes have been committed by those under the age of 18. Society’s reaction has been to remove such youth from the rehabilitative arm of the juvenile courts and try many of these individuals in the adult criminal system. This has prompted a significant amount of research in the area of adolescent development, juvenile justice, and the practice of forensic psychology with juvenile offenders.
The MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice was founded to provide research on various questions related to juvenile crime and justice. To date, the Foundation has provided, for public review, much empirical data on the differences among juveniles of various ages and their relationship to adult criminals. This important research has covered topics from juvenile competency to stand trial to juvenile psychopathy. The research helps to improve understanding of the unique characteristics of juvenile offenders, in order to best address public safety concerns and provide the best treatment for these individuals.
This week’s Application Assignment is constructed partially to help you become more familiar with a specific area of concern within juvenile forensic psychology.
To prepare for this assignment:
- Review the selected pages of Chapter 13 in Introduction to Forensic Psychology. Consider the rights and protections afforded to juvenile offenders, and the problems that might exist within the juvenile court system.
- Review Chapter 7 in Introduction to Forensic Psychology. Reflect on the developmental elements of juvenile aggression.
- Review the Macarthur Foundation’s Report on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice. Focus on the three research areas of competence, culpability, and adolescent potential for change, and the issues related to the treatment of juvenile offenders.
- Think about what concerns emerge in the evaluation and assessment of juvenile offenders.
- Select a contemporary area of concern within juvenile forensic psychology that you believe to be important to address and consider why this is a concern and how it might be addressed.
- Explore the research addressing this contemporary issue of concern. (Note: You may find the information in this week’s optional reading section helpful in your search for a topic and information about area of concern.)
- Explain the contemporary area of concern within juvenile forensic psychology that you selected.
- Explain why you believe this is an important area of concern to be addressed.
- Explain how this area of concern might be addressed.
- Be sure to be specific and use examples.