Book Review: The evolution of the juvenile court: Race, politics, and the criminalizing of juvenile justice

Date01 September 2021
Published date01 September 2021
Subject MatterBook Reviews
by listening” (p. 74), to “start with the end in mind,” (p. 115), and that “more is less” (p. 142). A little
hackneyed, but in context they work.
The section on professionalism resonates with anyone who works with data development. The
chapter on judges, which relates to the lessons on professionalism, can be summarized as follows:
Judges’ decisions are only as good as the evidence/information they receive. Or even more suc-
cinctly, garbage in, garbage out. Judges do not generate evidence. They must make decisions on
what they are provided. Trial attorneys owe it to their clients, the jury, and the judge to produce as
much high-quality evidence as possible. Relatedly, reputation and integrity matter. They are hard to
earn, easy to lose, and important tools in the trial kit. The same could be said of any social science
research. The quality of the research depends on the quality of the data and the quality of the
Finally, the most practical section of the book is the last. It is, in essence, a practice guide. Each
chapter ends with a practice checklist, but this last section casts aside pontification to provide the
true nuts and bolts of quality courtroom work. This section is a relative novelty and not something
that is often seen in social science research, but perhaps the authors are setting a trend.
While this work gives little attention to the technological aspects of modern trial work, or to the
benefits of using technology to develop evidence, profile jurors, or research the courtroom players, it
otherwise provides an exciting and highly usable approach to teaching trial practice. Bottom line:
Read it if you want to be a lawyer, work with lawyers, or just want to think like one for a little while.
Feld, B. C. (2017).
The evolution of the juvenile court: Race, politics, and the criminalizing of juvenile justice. New York: New York
University Press. 392 pp. $35.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-4798-9569-4.
Reviewed by: Jessica Y. Cuthbert ,University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
DOI: 10.1177/0734016818804873
In The Evolution of the Juvenile Court: Race, Politics, and the Criminalizing of Juvenile Justice,
Barry Feld (2017) provides a comprehensive historical analysis of the juvenile court from its
inception in Cook County, IL, in 1899 to the present day. Feld delivers a robust summary of the
juvenile court’s transformation throughout four distinct eras: the Progressive Era, the Due Process
Era, the Get-Tough Era, and the Kids Are Different Era. He demonstrates how each period was
shaped by the specific social, cultural, and political ideologies of its time. And in the last two eras in
particular, Feld lucidly demonstrates how courts are torn between whether to punish or rehabilitate
the child—punishment prevails.
Feld provides several key points supported by past research and sound evidence. He discusses
Supreme Court cases such as Miranda v. Arizona,Kent v. United States, and decisions from in re
Gault,Roper,Graham, and Miller to explain how our juvenile justice system has failed to extend full
protection to our youth while at the same time punishing them for their age, race, and economic
status. Feld also explores how political parties have planted and exploited public fears of crime and
use “White voters’ racial animus” to promote get tough policies to secure their own political
campaigns. This strategy has resulted in the abandonment of children’s rights in the juvenile system
and damaging the futures of largely Black and brown youth and their families. In addition, Feld uses
an interdisciplinary approach in his research that includes the work of developmental psychology
and neuroscience scholars to argue that the diminish ed culpability of minors is not adequately
388 Criminal Justice Review 46(3)

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT