Judging Juveniles

Prosecuting Adolescents in Adult and Juvenile Courts

211 pages

November, 2006

ISBN: 9780814747742



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Aaron Kupchik is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. He is the author of Judging Juveniles: Prosecuting Adolescents in Adult and Juvenile Courts (NYU Press), winner of the 2007 American Society of Ciminology Michael J. Hindelang Award for the Most Outstanding Contribution to Research in Criminology.

All books by Aaron Kupchik

2007 Ruth Shonle Cavan Young Scholar Award presented by the American Society of Criminology

2007 American Society of Criminology Michael J. Hindelang Award for the Most Outstanding Contribution to Research in Criminology

By comparing how adolescents are prosecuted and punished in juvenile and criminal (adult) courts, Aaron Kupchik finds that prosecuting adolescents in criminal court does not fit with our cultural understandings of youthfulness. As a result, adolescents who are transferred to criminal courts are still judged as juveniles. Ultimately, Kupchik makes a compelling argument for the suitability of juvenile courts in treating adolescents. Judging Juveniles suggests that justice would be better served if adolescents were handled by the system designed to address their special needs.


  • “An extremely well written book that will make an important and unique contribution.”

    —Richard E. Redding, co-editor of Juvenile Delinquency: Prevention, Assessment, and Intervention

  • “An important book that will make a valuable contribution. Policy makers and students of the criminal justice system would be most wise to consider this book if they wish to understand what it really means to prosecute juveniles as if they were adults.”

    —Simon Singer, author of Recriminalizing Delinquency: Violent Juvenile Crime and Juvenile Justice Reform

  • “This book asks basic questions—what difference does the label we put on the court make in an institution's treatment of young offenders? What sorts of cases and what sorts of kids are transferred from juvenile to criminal court systems? What effects on youth are associated with different types of court? Close observation of two radically different institutional responses to youth crime breaks new ground in this empirical study of legal policy toward young offenders.”

    —Franklin E. Zimring, author of American Juvenile Justice

  • “An excellent book for those exploring the juvenile justice system, and an easy read for the general public.”


  • “In this important, clearly written and well-researched book, he argues that treating juveniles as adults conflicts with cultural ideas about youthfulness, resulting in an ambivalent and contradictory response by the court.”

    —Jamie J. Fader, University of Pennsylvania