Emily Buss

Volume 89.4
Kids Are Not So Different: The Path from Juvenile Exceptionalism to Prison Abolition
Emily Buss
Mark and Barbara Fried Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School

Thanks to Herschella Conyers, Jessica Feierman, Martin Guggenheim, Esther Hong, Genevieve Lakier, Robert Schwartz, and Elizabeth Scott for their helpful comments and to Alexandra Bright Braverman, Eleanor Brock, Ryne Cannon, Robert Clark, Kyra Cooper, William Cope, Kim Johnson, Tori Keller, Crofton Kelly, Rachel Smith, and Anna Ziai for their excellent research assistance. Thanks to the Arnold and Frieda Shure Research Fund for its generous support of this research. 

Inspired by the Supreme Court’s embrace of developmental science in a series of Eighth Amendment cases, “kids are different” has become the rallying cry, leading to dramatic reforms in our response to juvenile crime designed to eliminate the incarceration of children and support their successful transition to adulthood. The success of these reforms represents a promising start, but the “kids are different” approach is built upon two flaws in the Court’s developmental analysis that constrain the reach of its decisions and hide the true implications of a developmental approach.

Book review
Rethinking the Connection between Developmental Science and Juvenile Justice
Emily Buss
Mark and Barbara Fried Professor of Law and Kanter Director of Chicago Policy Initiatives, The University of Chicago Law School

My thanks to Catherine Kiwala, for her excellent research assistance, and to participants in The University of Chicago’s Developmental Psychology Graduate Seminar for their helpful comments. The Arnold and Frieda Shure Research Fund and the Kanter Family Foundation Initiatives Fund provided support for this research.