Instructor(s) Smith, Charisa
Introduction to Juvenile Justice.
This 1-credit course aims to provide students with a broad understanding of the U.S. juvenile justice system and its variants among the states, while enabling students to focus on a particular topic of interest. Students will explore the Origins, History, and Philosophy of the juvenile court, including key cases in the evolution of delinquency law and broader law mediating the “triangular” relationship between child, family, and state. Students will become familiar with juvenile justice Terminology and Court & Agency Procedures.
The course will also address Empirical Dimensions, including regional and national demographics; racial and socioeconomic disparities; issues of disability, gender and sexual orientation; youth contact with intersecting public systems; and recidivism. Course participants will consider Professional Responsibility concerns confronting representatives for children, families, and the state. Informed by recent discoveries in the biological and social sciences which have been used in U.S. Supreme Court juvenile law jurisprudence since 2005, students will contemplate policy implications and ultimately commit to an individual, directed research project. Potential “Special Topics” for study include Juvenile Confessions/Interrogations; Competency to stand trial; Transfer/Waiver to adult court; Solitary Confinement; Shackling; Search & Seizure; Juvenile sex offenders; Conditions of Confinement; Offenses related to technology; and the efficacy of various dispositions including alternatives such as diversion, Restorative Justice, Positive Youth Development, Trauma-Informed Care, and Community-based programs.
Learning Outcomes - Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
1. Identify and describe the major legal and policy issues in the area of U.S. juvenile justice.
2. Discuss the history and philosophy of the juvenile court and their effects on current law and policy.
3. Understand the restrictions and guidelines of the U.S. Constitution and international human rights laws on the process and substance of the law related to juvenile offending.
4. Recognize current knowledge from the biological and social sciences as it relates to
5. childhood and adolescent development, and to juvenile justice law and policy.
6. Understand the special professional responsibility of attorneys representing children or prosecuting them for offenses; while recognizing legal ethics concerns that arise in the daily practice of law in the field of juvenile justice.
7. Analyze a particular topic of interest and present a cogent argument regarding that topic, illustrated by thorough inquiry, evaluation, discussion, conclusion, and recommendation-making.