Professor Of Criminology And Criminal Justice, Indiana University Of Pennsylvania
- Research on children’s development and effects of victimization on children, financial factors as well as decreases in juvenile crime after court rulings helped shape today’s juvenile justice policies.
In the essay, “A Decade of Change: Roper v. Simmons, Defending Childhood, and Juvenile Justice Policy,” Merlo and her co-author examine the history of criminal justice policy changes and the impact juvenile justice systems. The authors note that policy changes for juveniles began with the 1976 Supreme Court ruling where children were recognized as people, expanding their rights to equal adults in the court system. These rights for juveniles were furthered with subsequent rulings. Further information about children’s development, effects of victimization on children, financial factors as well as decreases in juvenile crime after court rulings, helped shape the way for the leniency in juvenile justice policy we see today. Despite the evolution of juvenile justice reform, the authors conclude that there are still opportunities to change juvenile justice policy by amending the issue that juveniles are still able to be tried as adults and subjected to harsh punishments such as solitary confinement. In conclusion, the researchers advocate for more science in justice reform to develop and implement successful strategies to create positive change in the juvenile justice system.