Discretionary Justice

Discretionary Justice : Looking Inside a Juvenile Drug Court

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Her book manuscript, entitled Discretionary Justice: Looking Inside a Juvenile Drug Court is an intensive case study of staff decision-making practices in a juvenile drug court in southern California. Use of juvenile drug courts is on the rise in the US, as a result of a favorable political climate and a professional endorsement of the concept of combining therapeutic care with correctional discipline. These efforts aim to divert nonviolent youth drug users into drug treatment instead of long-term incarceration. The author proposes to look at what kind of effects this "therapeutic jurisprudence movement" has on the process of recovery of program participants. The author focuses on the way accountability and non-compliance are assessed by staff members of such programs. Explaining the concept of "workability," Leslie Paik demonstrates how compliance and what is seen by staff as "noncompliance" are the constructed results of various staff decisions, budget cuts, and sometimes questionable drug test results. Starting with an overview of the juvenile drug court system, this manuscript provides a portrait of the "highly contested and negotiated backstage staff negotiations" surrounding the way youths and their families negotiate their way through these programs.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 160 x 230 x 22mm | 498.95g
  • Rutgers University Press
  • New Brunswick, NJ, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0813550068
  • 9780813550060
  • 1,483,981

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Review quote

"Paik's extraordinary data illuminates the tension between therapy and punishment in juvenile drug courts. A terrific read!"--Aaron Kupchik"author of Homeroom Security: School Discipline in an Age of Fear" (07/15/2010)

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Flap copy

Juvenile drug courts are on the rise in the United States, as a result of a favorable political climate and justice officials' endorsement of the therapeutic jurisprudence movement--the concept of combining therapeutic care with correctional discipline. Discretionary Justice overviews the system, taking readers behind the scenes of the juvenile drug court. Based on fifteen months of ethnographic fieldwork and interviews at a California court, Leslie Paik explores the staff's decision-making practices in assessing the youths' cases, concentrating on the way accountability and noncompliance are assessed.

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About Leslie Paik

Leslie Paik is an assistant professor of sociology at the City College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

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