Despite being labeled as adults, the approximately 200,000 youth under the age of 18 who are now prosecuted as adults each year in criminal court are still adolescents, and the contradiction of their legal labeling creates numerous problems and challenges. In Courting Kids Carla Barrett takes us behind the scenes of a unique judicial experiment called the Manhattan Youth Part, a specialized criminal court set aside for youth prosecuted as adults in New York City. Focusing on the lives of those coming through and working in the courtroom, Barrett’s ethnography is a study of a microcosm that reflects the costs, challenges, and consequences the “tough on crime” age has had, especially for male youth of color. She demonstrates how the court, through creative use of judicial discretion and the cultivation of an innovative courtroom culture, developed a set of strategies for handling “adult-juvenile ” cases that embraced, rather than denied, defendants’ adolescence.
About the Author
Carla J. Barrett is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Table of Contents
Introduction: An Experiment in Youth Justice 1
1 Calendar Days in the Youth Part: Mundanity and Drama 21
2 Creating the "Juvenile Offender" 44
3 Rehabilitation, Youth Part Style 61
4 Individualized Justice in a Criminal Court 89
5 Managing Contradictions 130
6 Judging the Court, Judging Transfer 152
Conclusion: Kids Will Be Kids 167
About the Author 209
What People are Saying About This
“This insightful ethnography tells a compelling story of injustice, humanity, and suffering—of a judge’s struggle to do right despite challenging circumstances—and in the process offers a powerful critique against transfer to criminal court.”-Aaron Kupchik,author of Homeroom Security
“An impressive and important book. Meticulously researched and well written the book offers an insightful account of the way one court adapted to the legal effort to try juvenile offenders as adults.” -Austin Sarat,author of Life without Parole