Barry Krisberg

Barry Krisberg is president of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, which is based in Oakland, California.

Recent Articles

Reforming Juvenile Justice

In 1899, Illinois and Colorado established a new “Children's Court.” The idea was to substitute treatment and care for punishment of delinquent youths. These changes were promoted by child advocates such as the famous social activist Jane Addams and crusading judges like Denver's Ben Lindsey, as well as influential women's organizations and bar associations. Over the next 20 years, the concept of a separate court system for minors spread to most states. Although the new children's court movement lacked adequate resources to fulfill its lofty mission, the intellectual promise was virtually unchallenged for two-thirds of the 20th century. Several key assumptions lay behind the juvenile-court idea. First, children were not just “small adults,” and they needed to be handled differently. Second, there was a need for specially trained legal and correctional professionals to work with minors. Third, placing children in adult prisons and jails made them more antisocial and criminal. And finally...