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The Criminalization of Youth

 The Criminalization of Youth
Martin Lee AndersonMartin Lee Anderson

Scapegoats or ... beneficiaries or ... benefactors ... 
What should be the role of youth in society?

The 1960s saw the blooming of a new and democratic concept of children, youth and the family.  Childrens' natural spontaneity and joyful exhuberance, their pursuit of discovery and experiment, all were seen as vitally important social activities.  Children are not simply our beneficiaries; they are our benefactors as well.

Ever since this transformative period, forces of reaction have been working to sow seeds of anxiety about the freedoms widely considered necessary to a healthy functioning society.

In the 1980s they began promoting notions such as the juvenile sex offender, and the teenaged "super-predator."  Notions of sex as inherently violent and dangerous (
although it is usually the opposite) played heavily in the campaigns targeting youth.

Small children have been charged for "sex crimes," for what amounts to playing "doctor" with their peers.  Many states have built institutions
to warehouse teen "sex offenders."  Programs at these institutions typically indoctrinate the youths to hate and fear their own sexuality, breaking their personalities down to a point approaching total self-abnegation.

The articles linked below chronicle this social travesty and tell the stories of the most powerless people in our society -- victims of the culture war over what is the true meaning of freedom.


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