New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers

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in David Tanenhaus & Franklin Zimring, eds., Choosing The Future of Criminal Justice (NYU Press 2014)


Confidentiality of the juvenile's criminality and contacts wit the criminal justice system was central to the raison d'etre of the juvenile court. Consequently, juvvenile court personnel and their legislative allies limited the disclosure of juvenile respondents' identities,c riminal conduct and court processing. Nevertheless, to do its work, the court collected and shared a great deal of information. Even more information was purposefully and/or inadvertently disclosed by police departments. After the Gault decision, the commitment to confidentiality waned. By the 1980s, emphasis on government transparency and protecting society significantly undermined the policy and practice of juvenile justice system confidentiality. Without that commitment, the juvenile court and juvenile justice are very much weakened.

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