Abstract

In discussing the manner in which our juvenile justice system is subject to manipulation by the political process, four factors will be discussed: (1) treatment, (2) administration, (3) agency interface, and (4) selection and appointment of juvenile judges. These factors were selected not only because of the inherent political manipulability within each of them but also because of their more overriding ability to influence the personnel and components of the juvenile justice system in a distinctively negative fashion. These four factors are not always negative or uncontrollable; informed and enlightened juvenile court administrators could, to a degree, minimize the politicalization process and maximize the advantages that characterize these four factors. Whether we can presuppose the existence of such a group of enlightened juvenile court administrators is another matter. In any event, the objective of this paper is to discuss how these four very important variables within the juvenile justice system manifest their dysfunctional consequences and either latently or overtly contribute to the politicalization of the juvenile court and its personnel.

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