August 08, 2018

CUA Law professor Cara Drinan is guest blogging for Doug Berman's Sentencing Law & Policy blog this week. She will be highlighting the central claims of her book, The War on Kids, as well as other current criminal justice topics.

The War on Kids Post #1

By: Cara Drinan
Date: August 1, 2018
From: Doug Berman's Sentencing Law & Policy blog

Greetings, fellow SL&P readers and Doug Berman fans! I'm Cara Drinan, and I'd like to thank Doug for generously offering me the opportunity to guest blog while he's away on vacation. For the most part, I will blog about my recent book, The War on Kids: How American Juvenile Justice Lost Its Way (Oxford University Press 2017, available here), but if time permits, I'll also post about current events.

I look forward to sharing my research over the coming days and hearing your thoughts and comments. The War on Kids begins by addressing the arc of American juvenile justice. Despite inventing the juvenile court a little more than a century ago, the United States has become an international outlier in the severity of its juvenile justice practices. The War on Kids explains that trajectory as a sub-plot to the story of mass incarceration, and then exposes the machinery of juvenile justice: how certain kids are more likely than others to end up in the system and what that bleak experience looks like for a juvenile inside the system. The latter half of the book turns to examining prospects for reform on the horizon. Recent Supreme Court juvenile sentencing decisions and related state legislative responses provide grounds for optimism, and yet implementation efforts to date have been slow and bumpy. Finally, the book concludes that we must launch a war for kids and outlines policy measures that such a war must entail: the elimination of extreme juvenile sentences, the abolition of mandatory minimums for kids, and a shift away from juvenile incarceration altogether.

Obviously, I can't cover the whole book in a few blog posts, and I hope you'll read it in full, but in the coming days I will address a few questions addressed within the book:

  • Given that the juvenile Court model was an American invention, how did the US become the extreme outlier that it is today?
  • What does the war on kids look like today in America?
  • How have recent Supreme Court decisions regarding extreme juvenile sentences been implemented on the ground?
  • What does a war for kids entail?

Click here to read the full post.