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Letizia Mantovani

A future beyond prison walls: the role of juvenile detention alternatives in Italian and American juvenile justice system

Imposing community-based sanction as a way to avoid juvenile incarceration: differences and similarities between Italy and the United States

Issue 11/2021

Abstract. A young person charged with a crime always draws media attention, even only to enhance audience’s interest. What happens after conviction, on the other hand, isn’t in the public eye as often as it should, considering its relevance not only in the young offender’s rehabilitation process but also in the community life itself. The Italian justice system plans a strategy for treating juvenile delinquents preferring  community-based alternatives to locked facilities. The concept of diversion, borrowed from the American criminal justice system, perfectly describes the idea of channeling youths away from delinquency and into a safer environment which promotes their social integration. That’s why comparing Italian and American approaches in this field could be useful to address the issues and highlight the strengths of the newly-formed Italian juvenile penitentiary system.

SUMMARY: 1. The new face of juvenile justice post-conviction dispositions: the birth of the juvenile penitentiary system. – Alternatives to incarceration as a tool for education and social rehabilitation of juvenile delinquents – The importance of using community-based programs with juvenile offenders. – Another view: what American and Italian juvenile justice systems have in common. – Juvenile delinquency and Juvenile Courts: lights and shadows of a ever-evolving process. – Conclusions.

This article was submitted anonymously for evaluation by two expert reviewers, with a positive outcome.


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