Fetishizing the will in juvenile justice policy and practice

Authored by: Alexandra Cox

The Routledge Handbook of Criminal Justice Ethics

Print publication date:  July  2016
Online publication date:  July  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415708654
eBook ISBN: 9781315885933
Adobe ISBN: 9781134619450


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Our preoccupation with young people’s capacities to successfully develop, grow up, and to change is age-old. When a young person is accused of a crime, those concerns become more acute and the questions more perplexing: Do young people grow out of crime? Do they need assistance in doing so? If so, what form should that assistance take? We know more clearly than ever before that the vast majority of young people age out of crime, even those charged with serious offenses (Mulvey 2011; Mulvey et al. 2004). Thus, do interventions matter? If so, how do they matter with respect to a young person’s role as a citizen-in-waiting? Juvenile justice programs demand that young people work on their capacities to be compliant with the law and thus exercise self-control and control over their will. Juvenile justice interventions raise critical ethical questions because they are aimed at shaping young people’s roles as compliant citizens in the liberal state.

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