Date of Award

Fall 2018

Degree Type

Capstone - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Alicia Girgenti-Malone


Over the past 30 years, the juvenile justice system can be described as a pendulum that swings between the concepts of rehabilitation and punishment. When the juvenile justice system was first created, rehabilitation and restorative justice were its primary purposes. However, over time the system has strayed from these views and has turned its focus toward punishment. The punishment focus has partially risen out of the communities’ fear of crime that has been ignited by the media concerning adolescents who are not deterred by the juvenile justice system. Nonetheless, it can be argued that the juvenile justice system should revert back to their original initiatives and focus on rehabilitation and restorative justice once again. Factors that support the juvenile justice system returning to rehabilitative methods are adolescent brain development and labeling theory’s impact on recidivism and the development of “career criminals.” These factors are important to consider in order to be able to decrease the effect that labeling theory has on an adolescent. Recommendations for improvement to current juvenile justice policy are made and policy implications are discussed.

Included in

Criminology Commons