In the past decade, alarming reports of youth violence have appeared with increasing frequency in the news media. Legislators across the United States have responded to this sense of national emergency by changing many of the laws designed to cope with juvenile offenders. But are we really in the midst of a surge in youth violence? More to the point, what causes youth violence and what should we do about it? Franklin Zimring offers the definitive examination of adolescent violence in the United States both as a social phenomenon and a policy problem. This book covers the range of youth violence issues in the 1990s, from crime statistics to demographic projections to new legislation. The result is a thorough debunking of Congressional predictions of "a coming storm of juvenile violence" and the half-baked policy proposals that accompany such warnings. The book sets forth comprehensive and dispassionate analyses of three key areas of youth violence policy: adolescent firearms possession and use, standards for transfer from juvenile to criminal court jurisdiction, and legal sanctions for adolescents who kill.
Throughout the book, the core issues of youth violence in the 1990s are examined with an unprecedented degree of analytic rigour. Zimring also offers an appropriate set of responses to youth violence that are consistent with a positive future for the juvenile court and for America's children. Timely and authoritative, American Youth Violence gives students, scholars, and policy makers a much-needed tool with which to fashion a constructive response to one of the nation's most disturbing social ills.