First Advisor

Gardner, Gil


Bullington, Jim


Regis College

Degree Name



Regis College Senior Honors Program

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

57 pages


There is a trend that has swept across America's juvenile justice system, and that is to send children as young as fourteen years old into some of the most violent and oppressive adult prisons in the nation. When children are housed with adult criminals, the result is a process that does not rehabilitate children; rather it only seeks to further their criminality. Children have not always been treated this way, so we must ask the question: How did we get to this point in the justice system? When did we stop viewing children as children, and begin to fear them as hardened criminals? The idea of "childhood" as a developmental stage has not always been an accepted fact. In the Middle Ages infancy ended at age seven, and adulthood began. At the age of seven one was expected to begin work, and these children were just seen as "little adults" (Sheldon, 13). It was not until the late nineteenth century that the term "adolescence" even became a part of the language (Sheldon, 12). Prior to this time any sort of child deviance was dealt with on an informal basis. If children acted out or committed a crime, it was up to the family to deal with this type of behavior. There were no juvenile courts, and children were not sent to prison. Juvenile delinquency was a family affair that needed to be dealt with on an individual basis, and was not a matter for the state to interfere in.

Date of Award

Spring 2008

Location (Creation)

Denver, Colorado

Rights Statement

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