Rethinking the Connection between Developmental Science and Juvenile Justice
In Rethinking Juvenile Justice, Elizabeth Scott, a legal scholar, and Laurence Steinberg, a developmental psychologist, join forces to consider how the law should respond to adolescent offenders. They offer readers a new “developmental model” for juvenile justice, which they suggest is distinct in important ways from both the “traditional” vision of the early twentieth century progressives and the “contemporary” vision of tough-on-crime reformers (pp 6, 16–18). But the real contribution of the book is more significant for being more subtle. What distinguishes this book from other writings in the field are not the proposals made, which are relatively modest, but rather the developmental sophistication with which they are defended. And in the end, the hard questions the book raises are not about juvenile justice policy, but rather about the interrelationship between law and science. Offering us the gold standard in legal-developmental collaboration, it presses us to consider the role the developmental sciences should play in shaping the law affecting children.