Washington International Law Journal


Amanda L. Paye


Juvenile crime is one of the preeminent concerns of many Western societies today, yet the current retributive styles of justice that purport to "get tough" on youth crime have not been effective. In defiance of the "get tough" rhetoric, and despite the lack of meaningful legislative recognition, communities are adjudicating juvenile cases through alternative programs based on the Restorative Justice theory. Because of the promising effects of Restorative Justice on youth crime, New Zealand and Australia have taken the bold step of restructuring their juvenile justice systems via landmark legislation that incorporates an innovative "conferencing" model. The model is a facilitated mediation in which offenders, victims, families, and community members participate in the resolution of the crime. The United States should follow suit by adopting the elements of the New Zealand and Australian statutes to incorporate conferencing into its juvenile justice system.

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