The slow march to justice for children

By Barry Krisberg

America’s foremost legal philosopher, Roscoe Pound (1870-1964), once observed that the American juvenile court was the greatest step forward in Anglo-American law since the Magna Carta. He was referring to an ideal of justice that was individualized, compassionate and infused with the value of human redemption. This was the vision of Jane Addams, Judge Ben Lindsey and the youth advocates who lobbied to create the juvenile court in Illinois and Colorado in 1899.

Sadly, this ennobling model of justice has been honored more in the breach than in reality.

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