History of Juvenile Justice created in the late 1800's to reform U. S. policies regarding youthful offenders early on children were treated as chattels of adults without any rights if found guilty they were sentenced just as adults were New York City House of Refuge, the first youth prison opened in 1825 during the 1800's the juvenile justice system exercised its authority within a "parents patria e" which meant state as parent or guardian role. The state assumed responsibility of parenting the children until they begin to show changes Many refuge homes were similar to orphanages the refuge houses provided education, physical exercise, and supervision Illinois adopted the first juvenile code in 1899 and established the country's first juvenile court prior to 1900 at least ten children under the age of fourteen had been executed Illinois law focused on the offender's character rather than the offense the mission of juvenile courts was to make the youth productive citizens in the 1920's professional and mental health services available through the courts were expanded Kent vs. U. S.

(1966) was the first case requiring a special hearing before any transfers to adult court In re Gault (1967) case that determined the constitution requires separate juvenile justice system with certain standard procedures and protections by 1970's a major conservative reform movement emphasized deterrence and punishment. Conservatives wanted vigorous prosecution of serious and violent offenders Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (1974) started to decriminalize, deinstitutionalize, and eliminate court authority over status offenders. They wanted to separate juvenile offenders from adult offenders believing that they were learning criminal behavior from the adults. number of juveniles in adult prisons increased in the U. S. by 50% between 1979 and 1984.

each state has one maximum security facility total numbers of juveniles in custody is about 42, 000 number of adjudicated cases that resulted in residential placements of youth grew by 51% between 1987 and 1996. the number of delinquency cases waived to criminal courts grew by 73% between 1988 and 1995.