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Source — The Atlantic

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USA : treating young offenders like adults is bad parenting

Part of the philosophy for creating a separate juvenile-justice system in the United States is the idea that the state can act as a parent, or parens patriae—protector, caretaker, disciplinarian—when a young person fails to respect the rights of others, commits petty or serious crimes, or shirks age-based societal norms by committing so-called status offenses.

But parenting is hard. Even for the state.

Sometimes the lessons learned with one generation benefit the next. Sometimes cultural attitudes change—making kids’ behavior more acceptable (smoking marijuana) or less acceptable (campus assault) as time passes. And sometimes parenting styles collide, leading to an impasse in which the children’s wellbeing and fate hang in the balance.

That is the case today in California, where a little-known legal measure is testing the state’s parenting skills when it comes to its juvenile offenders.

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