In 1899 the Illinois Juvenile Court Act created the first juvenile court to handle children based on the pre4mise that the parens patriae doctrine gave the court the right to act in the child’s best interest.  Because the court’s purpose was to rehabilitate rather than punish, the court employed psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers to help.  Judges were to assume the “parental” role in a nonthreatening, informal, non-adversarial, and nonlegalist atmosphere.

The institutionalizat5ion of juveniles in a training school is the system’s most severe penalty according to some researchers.  In many cases this harsh punishment can do more harm than good; stigmatization labeling can push them deeper into delinquency.