Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Juvenile Crime Drops – a hope for the end of the Scapegoat Generation?

Some years back Michael Males wrote a book called “The Scapegoat Generation” in which he debunked the many myths about youth, including the myth of the coming generation of super-predators.  Males continues to be one of the best researchers in using actual data to talk about trends in youth behavior – and you can view a brief video and link to a recent report in California that shows a 20-year decline in juvenile arrests – similar to what we reported in our The State of Juvenile Justice in Wisconsin: What do we really know? report released in the fall. 

Of particular note in California is the increased diversity in the population, along with an over 90% decrease in the number of youth confined – factors that some would suggest should have led to increases in juvenile crime, not the kind of decreases that actually occurred.  Thanks to Liz Wu for posting this information on the Reclaiming Futures blog site. 

Maybe we can finally get past the misperception that somehow youth are running out of control in our communities, while at the same time not getting complacent about how we invest our resources for the future.  

Jim Moeser

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