Some of the dissonance between the federal agenda and what was happening in the states at that time may have been caused by significant changes in legal procedures that made juvenile court processes more similar—though not identical—to those in criminal (adult) court.
The main response to the most recent spike in violent juvenile crime has been enactment of laws that further blur distinctions between juvenile courts and adult courts.
Concern about it is widely shared by federal, state, and local government officials and by the public.
In recent years, this concern has grown with the dramatic rise in juvenile violence that began in the mid-1980s and peaked in the early 1990s.
Historically, children under the age of seven have been considered below the age of reason, and therefore unable to formulate the criminal intent necessary to be held accountable for criminal offenses.
In practice, children younger than age 10 are rarely involved in the juvenile justice system.
In In re Gault (1967), Justice Fortas summed up the views of the child savers: “The early reformers were horrified by adult procedures and penalties, and by the fact that children could be given long prison sentences and thrown in jails with toughened criminals.
Disregarding graduated treatment: Why transfer aggravates recidivism.
A specific group of Progressives, called the "child savers," focused the majority of their attention on finding and curing the causes of juvenile delinquent behavior.
The child savers group viewed the juvenile offenders as adolescents in need of care and direction, not punishment (Myers, 2008).