The Worst of All Possible Worlds: Michigan's Juvenile Justice System and International Standards for the Treatment of Children

Frank E. Vandervort, University of Michigan Law School
William E. Ladd


Throughout the ages, the question of how society deals with law-breaking and other problematic behavior by persons considered to be children has been a vexing one. However, a closer look at the question reveals that in this country, and in Michigan in particular, we are in the anomalous situation of treating children with a combination of more severe punishment and less due process than at any other time in the history of our laws. This situation is particularly troubling because in most of the rest of the world, both developed and undeveloped, efforts are being made to advance the rights and protection of children through international agreements like the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ("the Convention").