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This master’s thesis falls within the field of sociology of law and penal system, specifically in the area of social control studies of children and adolescents. The thesis analyzes the legal and institutional reform in juvenile justice in Buenos Aires province. The studied period goes from 2000 to 2009, divided into two sections: 2000-2007, focusing on the process of legislative reform and the period 2008-2009, referring to the implementation of the new Youth Criminal Responsibility Jurisdiction (judiciary branch) and the Juvenile Crime Responsibility System (executive branch), which focuses specifically on imprisonment institutions for teens.

The hypothesis that guided this research is based on the gradual transition from welfare government to penal government (Wacquant, 2000), in line with the demands imposed by the government of the social surplus (De Giorgi, 2006). In this context, legal reforms and the granting of rights, guarantees and human rights for the youngest, acquire in the local experience a different functional degree of overdetermination, while its implementation eventually expands and toughens the criminal justice system for adolescents, and devices such as imprisonment, alleged residual spaces within the new legal-conceptual matrix that legitimized such legal reforms, are kept as non-residual institutional practices.

To serve this purposes, we used a methodological strategy for quantitative-qualitative research, combining various techniques, such as interviews, document analysis, official statistics analysis, quantitative surveys and observations.

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