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Document Type

Symposium Article

Abstract

The late Chief Justice Ralph Gants was a catalyst for criminal justice reform and a champion for young people within the justice system. In his work on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Chief Justice Gants committed himself to ensuring that children in juvenile court be treated as youths in need of help and never as criminals in need of punishment. While always respecting proper institutional boundaries, Chief Justice Gants worked to reduce the scope of juveniles’ involvement in the justice system where possible, limit the harmful effects of such involvement on young people, their families, and their communities, and provide youths with an expanded opportunity for release upon proven rehabilitation. This Article explores Chief Justice Gants’s influential legacy in the area of juvenile justice—a legacy left through both his opinions and advocacy—and what efforts he might have made on these issues in the future.

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