Education and Delinquency

The Political Development of Schools as Cause and Solution to Delinquency
Daniel S. Moak & Sarah D. Cate
The Journal of Policy History (Spring 2022)

This article offers a comprehensive history of the development of the federal role in education and juvenile justice policy from the 1950s to the 1970s. We argue that the issues of juvenile delinquency and education became linked during this time period, and policies that were enacted reflected the belief that education was a solution to delinquency. In the mid-twentieth century, a broader variety of approaches to anti-delinquency, such as public job creation for youth, began to fall out of favor and education became elevated as the primary policy area outside of the criminal justice system to address delinquency. Policy makers frequently justified federal involvement in education by arguing that schools were central to anti-delinquency efforts. Drawing educational institutions into the fight against delinquency made schools susceptible to the punitive turn in crime policy. Ultimately, these developments have introduced punitive policies into schools and pushed anti-delinquency efforts away from broader structural reforms.

Loneman Lookout – Glacier National Park