Boys among Men: Trying and Sentencing Juveniles as Adults

By David L. Myers | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2

Separating the Men from
the Boys

The term [juvenile delinquency] commonly is used in American society in discussions of why children and youths break the law and what should be done about it. In general, young people are viewed as being distinctly different from adults, including those young children who commit crimes. Although exceptions are made, particularly in cases of serious violent offending, juveniles who break the law are thought to deserve separate consideration than that given to adult criminals. This is such common knowledge that relatively few people would know, in fact, that the concept of delinquency is actually less than 200 years old and that throughout a great deal of American and European history, children were not treated much differently than adults. This is not to suggest that children and youths did not exhibit delinquent behavior until more modern times. There is good evidence that during the Middle Ages and from the 1500s through the 1700s, young people consumed alcohol and drugs, experienced considerable sexual freedoms, carried and used a variety of weapons, and committed various violent acts.1 It was not until the 1800s, though, that these behaviors became cause for serious concern. Moreover, rather than the deeds of juveniles becoming worse and generating increased alarm, it appears that changes occurred in the way society defined and reacted to these behaviors. This implies that delinquency is a relatively recent social invention and also one that can vary significantly from time to time.

-13-

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Boys among Men: Trying and Sentencing Juveniles as Adults
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Series Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgement xi
  • Chapter 1 - [Adult Crime, Adult Time] 1
  • Chapter 2 - Separating the Men from the Boys 13
  • Chapter 3 - Transformation to Criminal 31
  • Chapter 4 - Who Gets Transferred? 55
  • Chapter 5 - What Happens in Adult 71
  • Chapter 6 - Prospects for Punishment and Rehabilitation 89
  • Chapter 7 - General and Specific Deterrence 105
  • Chapter 8 - The Rise and Fall of Adult Crime, Adult Time 127
  • Notes 145
  • Bibliography 165
  • Index 189
  • About the Author 195
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