Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > UW Tacoma Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Theodore Ryle
T CRIM 360
Tacoma Campus

Youth and Juvenile Justice Systems

Focuses on juveniles as both legal offenders and crime victims from an ecological perspective. Emphasizes juvenile criminal offense theories, the continuum of legal responses, and the consequences on youth, families, and society.

Class description

This class will explore historical and contemporary explanations, definitions, laws and responses to juvenile delinquency. We will examine recurring trends in societal interventions, and how they relate to broader socio-economic factors of wealth, poverty, race, ethnicity & gender. The class will look closely at the practices of the last 40-50 years, examining the pendulum swings between “rehabilitation-focused” responses and “get tough” policies, such as transfer to adult court. We’ll compare and contrast recent trends of assessing “Risk & Protective Factors”, “Evidence Based Practices” with youth and families, principles of “Restorative Justice”, and the emergence of strengths-based “Positive Youth Development” programs. We’ll use Washington State as the subject of exploration of juvenile court procedures and the system of graduated sanctions. We’ll also discuss roles and opportunities for juvenile justice professionals in Washington State.

Student learning goals

Demonstrate an understanding of the historical and current definitions and explanations of juvenile delinquency, and how these reflect broader trends in societal beliefs and systems.

Critique racial, ethnic and gender equity issues in the juvenile justice system.

Describe the individual, socio-economic, familial and other factors that increase the risk of delinquent behavior.

Explain the principles that guide current juvenile justice approaches. This will include exploration of the “what works” and “Evidence Based Practice” literature, as well as review of programs that have not proven effective.

Describe the continuum of interventions: prevention, community-based corrections, residential “out of home placement” placements, and secured care.

Review the approach to juvenile justice in Washington State, including relevant laws, court stages and process, sentencing guidelines, and rehabilitation practices.

General method of instruction

The learning approach for this course will apply a combination of dialogue, brief lectures, small group activities such as researching and presenting possible responses to dilemmas and case scenarios, frequent brief quizzes and "Critical Thinking" question writing. We will also use Theater of the Oppressed as an interactive technique for examining and generating dialogue regarding complex social issues.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

1 Class text, plus additional articles and optional supplemental reading. Frequent brief quizzes, final exam and final essay regarding a policy or program related to delinquency.

Class Participation 15% Quizzes 20% Essay 20% Group Presentation 15% Final Exam 30%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Theodore Ryle
Date: 03/15/2014