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It is still too early to tell, but the punitive tide may be turning. Over the past 10 years, fewer juveniles were arrested, processed through the juvenile justice system, and transferred to the adult system. Opinion polls show that the public continues to support treatment for juvenile offenders. In addition, public officials have begun to express real worry about how they are going to manage the financial costs of America’s “imprisonment binge” (Irwin & Austin 2011). In combination with the research evidence showing the substantial advantages of rehabilitative programs over punitive ones, these considerations may support a revival of interest in returning to traditional core principles of rehabilitation and treatment in juvenile justice.


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Melanie Taylor Assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Nevada, Reno. She received a doctorate in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Arizona State University. She previously was employed as a deputy juvenile correctional officer with the Orange County Probation Department. Her current research interests are abuses in correctional facilities, civil rights of inmates, juvenile detention, juvenile delinquency, and the long-term outcomes of system-involved youth.

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