A Wave of Change: Juvenile Justice Reform, Advocacy Organizations and Substantive Representation Open Access

Arzy, Leily (Spring 2019)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/b2773w690?locale=en
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Abstract

Since the turn of the twenty-first century, states across the country have been reevaluating their punitive juvenile justice systems. They have adopted policies that recognize cognitive and developmental differences between adults and youth, limit the use of juvenile confinement and strengthen reentry services in cases of juvenile justice system contact – among other reforms. Despite widespread reform, this period is also characterized by great variation. Between 2008 and 2017, some states enacted over 40 juvenile justice reform bills while others enacted none at all. I theorize and empirically test whether those states with a greater presence of juvenile justice advocacy organizations and substantive representatives – female, black and/or Hispanic state legislators – enacted more juvenile justice reform bills during this period. Juvenile delinquents, as a group, are marginalized by their youth, race, class and perceptions of deviance. It is because juvenile delinquents are politically weak that they need these actors to receive a wave of beneficial policy. Advocacy organizations elevate the group’s marginalized interests and substantive representatives, due to their descriptive characteristics, are more willing to legislate in favor of these interests. I employ multiple linear regression models to test these theories as well as traditional explanations of criminal justice policy-making that have yet to be explored in the juvenile justice context.

Table of Contents

Introduction.................................................................................................................... 1

Chapter 1: The American Juvenile Justice System........................................................ 8

Chapter 2: Theorizing Juvenile Justice Reform............................................................. 39

Chapter 3: Data and Methods..................................................................................... 72

Chapter 4: Results..................................................................................................... 109

Discussion and Conclusion.......................................................................................... 130

Appendix:

Appendix 1................................................................................ 142

Appendix 2................................................................................ 145

Appendix 3................................................................................ 169

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