Securing Our Children's Future: New Approaches to Juvenile Justice and Youth Violence

Article excerpt

SECURING OUR CHILDREN'S FUTURE: NEW APPROACHES TO JUVENILE JUSTICE AND YOUTH VIOLENCE. GARY S. KATZMANN, EDITOR, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION PRESS, WASHINGTON, D.C. 2002. 444 PAGES.

Reviewed by Marilyn S. Snow

The tragedies in Pearl, Mississippi, Littleton, Colorado, and Jonesboro, Arkansas clearly brought the issues of juvenile violence and its impact on society to the public. The experience of violence creates a cycle of violence, and for children who do not experience direct abuse and neglect, research shows that witnessing violent acts may have the same effect as being the victim of violence. Children who witness domestic violence learn, through modeling, that violence is a release of uncontrollable emotions. There is little doubt that violence is increasing in our civilization, and that our children are the most vulnerable and the most likely to be, not only victims of violence, but also perpetrators violence in the future.

The book, Securing Our Children's Future: New Approaches to Juvenile Justice and Youth Violence, carefully addresses the myriad of issues involved in dealing with the problems of juvenile violence. Through the collaborative work of a diverse group of practitioners and academics, a project to examine the various roles of government, nonprofit, and private institutions was directed by Gary Katzmann. This project, known by the same name as the title of the book, considered ways to identify, coordinate, and implement strategies to handle the increasing violence in juveniles. The final goals for the book were to identify strategies for confronting youth violence, and to share perspectives among many branches of government, social services, education, the media, and nonprofit institutions.

In order to fully present the intricacies of juvenile justice and youth violence, the book covers the complex issues of the juvenile justice system, including the overlapping processes such as intake, detention, adjudication, transfer, disposition, and aftercare. The book considers the criminal justice system and the involvement of child protective services.

Delving deeper into the complexity of the system, the perspectives of various groups such as the prosecutor, the defense attorney, the courts, corrections, and probation, along with others involved with juveniles, are discussed in the various chapters throughout the book.

This book was the culmination of a major project funded by The Brookings Institution and The Governance Institute to provide collaboration with government and nongovernment organizations involved in juvenile justice. The purpose was to help those who are involved in issues of youth violence and in the future of our children gain more insight into the many perspectives and approaches that were developed over the years. This book thoroughly covers a spectrum of topics involving the extremely difficult problems of violent youth. The editor compiles chapters written by experts from different areas of criminal justice and youth justice. The book includes chapters by such well-known writers as George L. Kelling, professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers, David B. Mitchell, executive director of the National Council of juvenile and Family Court Judges, and Ronald G. Slaby a developmental psychologist who concentrates on the effects of television on children and ways to prevent violence in America. These knowledgeable contributors guarantee the reader a multifaceted view of the current perspectives and approaches on juvenile justice.

In each of the chapters, the contributors have completed a thorough review of the literature and have provided for the reader a wealth of information for further consideration. …