Juvenile Justice Put in Perspective Massachusetts Attorney General Champions Alternative Sentencing for Less-Serious Offenders

By Laurel Shaper Walters, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, September 1, 1991 | Go to article overview

Juvenile Justice Put in Perspective Massachusetts Attorney General Champions Alternative Sentencing for Less-Serious Offenders


Laurel Shaper Walters, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


FROM his 20th-floor office on Beacon Hill, Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger has a spectacular panoramic view of Boston. But his rise from the more down-to-earth position of a district attorney hasn't interfered with this public prosecutor's commitment to the juvenile justice system.

He's continuing a crusade in favor of alternative sentencing programs rather than prison for the majority of juvenile offenders. "I believe very strongly in a specialized juvenile system," Attorney General Harshbarger says, "and I believe that 95 percent of the juvenile offenders do not need to be incarcerated for any purpose of public protection."

Last month, Harshbarger won a national award from the American Bar Association for his influence in the area of juvenile justice. He is the first prosecutor to receive the Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award.

In a recent Monitor interview, Harshbarger outlined the priorities he sees for the juvenile-justice system in the United States.

High on his list is dealing with the public's perception of the juvenile-delinquency problem.

Despite the headlines and outrage generated by such criminal actions as the Central Park "wilding" incident, in which a group of teenagers beat and raped a woman, there's "no demonstrable evidence of a dramatic increase in juvenile crime," Harshbarger says. He doesn't deny that the issue is getting more visibility as younger kids become involved with gangs, drugs, and guns but says that the overall percentage of serious youth crime is not escalating.

"None of us are pleased about random violence or some of the unexplained, totally amoral acts by many 15-, 16-, 17-year-old kids. All of us are shocked by the 12-year-old who uses a gun or stabs (someone)," Harshbarger says. It's tempting to assume that "kids are out of control, we've lost our values," he acknowledges. "And in many respects we have lost our values. But there's a part of me that says this isn't the kids' fault. It's the adult world that's lost its ability to frame our central values and role modeling in this area."

Harshbarger hopes to use his leadership role to help the public get some perspective on the situation. Even though incidents like the one in Central Park get the public's attention, they are not the tip of an iceberg, he argues. "There aren't hundreds and thousands of other kids out there committing violent offenses and getting no sanctions."

A task force Harshbarger chaired in 1977 concluded that no more than 7 percent of all youthful offenders are "hard-core offenders," meaning that they commit serious, violent crimes or show a pattern of delinquency. That's still true today, he says.

"The premise that I've had in my career ... is that it's only a small percentage of the juvenile offenders who commit the vast majority of serious and violent crimes," Harshbarger says. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Juvenile Justice Put in Perspective Massachusetts Attorney General Champions Alternative Sentencing for Less-Serious Offenders
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.