Achieving justice for children: Public defenders in Israel's juvenile courts

Allan Borowski, Mimi Ajzenstadt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1999, public defender (PD) representation of defendants appearing before Israel's juvenile courts began to be phased in. This article reports some of the major findings of a study that examined the impacts of the introduction of PDs. Analysis of interviews with 14 PDs yielded four major themes concerning the impact of the "arrival" of PDs, nature of the court, PDs' role, and PDs' interactions with other court actors. Analysis of interviews with eight prosecutors yielded seven themes concerning the need for PDs, PD as state agent, PDs' role, harms of legalization, disruption of the court, compromising the therapeutic value of the court hearing, and changes in court process. More generally, both PDs and prosecutors placed uncritical store in the value of rehabilitation alternatives. Indeed, the welfare model continues to shape their roles. The findings can largely be explained in terms of Eisenstein and Jacob's courtroom workgroup model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-211
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Courtroom work group
  • Impacts
  • Israel
  • Juvenile court
  • Prosecutors
  • Public defenders


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