Northern Illinois University Press

Transforming Juvenile Justice

Reform Ideals and Institutional Realities, 1825-1920

Steven L. Schlossman

"A pathbreaking work of scholarship.... Simultaneously an intellectual tour de force, an eloquent portrayal of juveniles caught in the snares of an often arbitrary system of justice, and a sobering reminder of how far we have yet to go in helping our troubled youth."—Julia Grant, Michigan State University

"Crisp, insightful, well-researched, and well-argued ... the essential history book for those interested in the chaos of the current juvenile justice system."—Marvin Lazerson, Reviews in American History

"Reminds the modern reader that the intertwined concepts of the juvenile court and juvenile rehabilitation are and always have been hopelessly idealistic."—The Law and Politics Book Review

As juvenile justice dominates the headlines, the time has come to reexamine the history of this controversial institution. In Transforming Juvenile Justice, Steven L. Schlossman traces the evolution of the idea that young lawbreakers, or potential lawbreakers, merit special treatment. He closely examines the Milwaukee Juvenile Court and the Wisconsin State Reform School to reveal how Progressive theory—the belief that rehabilitation and careful oversight should replace punishment of delinquent youth—played out in practice.

Since its original publication in 1977, Schlossman's history of the juvenile justice system contributed to the debate on the delinquency problem and remains a landmark study today. In an engaging new introduction for this fresh edition of his classic, Schlossman reveals his sources of inspiration and relates his discovery of the rare records that offered an exclusive glimpse into the Milwaukee court's day-to-day operations. His account of the changing definitions of delinquency and reformers' attempts to remedy it offers insights on dilemmas that continue to plague American society.

(2005) 343 pp., notes, bibliography, index
ISBN: 978-0-87580-603-7
paper $25.00

Steven L. Schlossman is Professor of History at Carnegie Mellon and author of numerous publications on social history and policy history, with particular emphasis on childhood, education, and juvenile delinquency.

Table of Contents

Part 1-The Theory of "Progressive" Juvenile Justice
Introduction to Part 1
1 Precedent and Policy
The Law of American Juvenile Justice
2 Juvenile Justice in the Age of Jackson
3 Domesticating the House of Refuge
The Family Reform School in Victorian America
4 Love on the Move
The Juvenile Court Movement in Progressive America
Part 2-The Practice of "Progressive" Juvenile Justice
Introduction to Part 2
5 The Victorian Reform School
A False Start
6 The Heyday of the Family Reform School?
7 The Juvenile Court Movement in Microcosm
8 The Operational Meaning of Noninstitutional Treatment
9 The Heyday of the Juvenile Court?
Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Bibliography Addendum

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-603-7
paper $25.00