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American Juvenile Justice$
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Franklin E. Zimring

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195181166

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195181166.001.0001

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The Jurisprudence of Teen Pregnancy

The Jurisprudence of Teen Pregnancy

(p.125) Nine The Jurisprudence of Teen Pregnancy
American Juvenile Justice

Franklin E. Zimring

Oxford University Press

This chapter attempts to use some of the same perspectives on adolescence that inform modern theories of juvenile justice to evaluate policies toward teen pregnancy. The concerns that provoke special policy toward teen pregnancy were an important part of the first two-thirds of the twentieth century, when girls at risk were frequently classified as “status offenders.” The problems associated with severe punishment for status offenders led to a tactical withdrawal of delinquency classifications and institutional placement for girls at their sexual risk. But teen pregnancy remains a policy problem of concern. The chapter first discusses the reason why teen pregnancy might be regarded as a special problem. It then examines a range of potential public policies that have been proposed to prevent or respond to teen child bearing. A final section emphasizes the hazards of punishment as a tool to discourage teen childbearing.

Keywords:   adolescence, juvenile justice, teen pregnancy, public policy, punishment, prevention

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