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Kids in Prison

April 27, 2001 • Volume 11, Issue 16
Are the states too tough on young offenders?
By Brian Hansen

Introduction

Charles “Andy” Williams, 15, charged with the murder of two fellow students in Santee, Calif., is arraigned. (AP Photos/Nancee E. Lewis)
Charles “Andy” Williams, 15, charged with the murder of two fellow students in Santee, Calif., is arraigned. (AP Photos/Nancee E. Lewis)

When juvenile crime rates soared in the mid-1990s, nearly every state began prosecuting and incarcerating minors as adults. But the rise in crime quickly turned into a steady decline, and by 1997 the juvenile homicide rate had dropped to its lowest level in 25 years. But occasional schoolyard shootings and other high-profile incidents of youth violence have kept the nation's focus on juvenile crime. As a result, most states still have tough juvenile justice laws, and many states continue to treat juvenile offenders as incorrigible adults, including many charged with non-violent offenses. Prosecutors say strict laws are still necessary to protect the public, but critics say such policies cause grave harm to the nation's youth — and to society at large.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Juveniles and the Justice System
Mar. 05, 2010  Youth Violence
Nov. 07, 2008  Juvenile Justice
Apr. 27, 2001  Kids in Prison
Mar. 15, 1996  Preventing Juvenile Crime
Feb. 25, 1994  Juvenile Justice
Jul. 17, 1987  Troubled Teenagers
Nov. 28, 1986  Juvenile Justice
Jul. 27, 1979  Juvenile Justice
Feb. 11, 1970  Juvenile Offenders
Jul. 17, 1957  Reform of Delinquents
Sep. 25, 1953  Youngsters in Trouble
Sep. 08, 1950  Teen-Age Lawbreakers
Feb. 23, 1943  Juvenile Delinquency
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Juvenile Justice
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