SAGE Journal Articles
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Abstract: Recent legislative enactments have altered the boundary between U.S. juvenile and criminal justice systems. Youth that were previously adjudicated as juveniles are increasingly being labeled “adults” and tried in the criminal court. This article begins with a review of policy and practice changes in the transfer of children to the criminal court. Through a discussion of relevant social and political discourses, the author examines the meanings of these changes for constructions of childhood and the contestation of childhood that they represent. The article concludes with a framework for analyzing and reconfiguring the trying of children as adults.
Abstract: The transition of young people ages 24 and younger from juvenile and adult correctional settings back into schools, families, communities, and society at large—a process termed youth reentry—is one of the critical justice policy issues currently confronting the United States, yet research addressing this topic is limited. We therefore know little about the unique challenges, including the role of youth development, involved in youth reentry or how best to effectively assist this population to become contributing members of society. For this reason, the Urban Institute convened a roundtable of researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and community leaders to inform national discussions about youth reentry. In this introduction to the special issue, we summarize the findings and issues raised at the meeting, presenting highlights from the paper presentations and discussions. We then identify some of the promising research and policy directions that emerged from the meeting.
Article 3: Cohen, M., Piquero, A., & Jennings, W. (2010). Estimating the costs of bad outcomes for at-risk youth and the benefits of early childhood interventions to reduce them. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 21(4), 391–434.
Abstract: Although it appears that there is growing interest in early childhood intervention as an effort to reduce crime, resources continue to be funneled toward punishment and incarceration. Considering this and acknowledging earlier cost-based empirical research, the question still remains as to the cost incurred by a lifetime of involvement in crime and experiencing a host of adverse noncrime outcomes. This study provides a review of the literature in search of well-designed early childhood interventions that address a series of social ills, such as crime and delinquency, educational attainment, drug and alcohol abuse, smoking, child abuse and neglect, poor health outcomes, and teen pregnancy. Furthermore, building on the earlier framework and basic methodology developed by Cohen and recently updated by Cohen and Piquero, this study offers calculations of the present value of lifetime costs imposed on society for each of these various social ills—discounted to the date of birth to put them on comparable terms. The largest cost is imposed by the career criminal (US$2.1–US$3.7 million). Next, the present value costs associated with both drug abuse and alcohol dependence/abuse are roughly the same—about US$700,000 each—whereas child abuse and neglect costs an estimated US$250,000–US$285,000. Health-related outcomes range from a low US$10,300 for the estimated present value cost of low birth weight to US$127,000, US$144,000, US$187,000, and US$260,000 for coronary heart disease, asthma, diabetes, and smoking, respectively. Finally, the present value cost of teen pregnancy is estimated to range from US$120,000 to US$140,000. Thus, properly designed programs and policies that focus on early childhood intervention have the potential to produce significant social benefits. Study limitations and suggestions for future research are also discussed.