Antonia Johnson


Since Illinois created the first juvenile court system by statute in 1899, every state has enacted a juvenile justice system philosophically designed to help rather than to punish children who violate the law. The juvenile court from its inception has advocated the protection of misbehaving children from the harsh retributive philosophy of the adult criminal law. Instead of punishment it has attempted to provide methods by which to assist them to develop into mature, responsible adults.

Yet, from its inception, the proponents of the separate, specialized juvenile justice system have presumed that some children would not respond positively to its philosophy of treatment and rehabilitation. This presumption is reflected in the fact that all states but two have within their juvenile system a procedure by which the juvenile court may waive its jurisdiction over such minors by transferring them to the common pleas court to be tried and punished as adults.