skip navigation

Add your conference to our Justice Events calendar


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the NCJRS Abstracts Database. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

  NCJ Number: NCJ 131556     Find in a Library
  Title: Sins of Their Children: Parental Responsibility for Juvenile Delinquency
  Author(s): G Geis ; A Binder
  Journal: Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy  Volume:5  Issue:2  Dated:(1991)  Pages:303-322
  Date Published: 1991
  Page Count: 20
  Annotation: Recent laws and ordinances making parents liable for certain actions or omissions represent an inadequate and often vicious approach to the problem of juvenile delinquency and deprive persons of money and liberty based on unprovable assumptions that their behavior is meaningfully affected by threats of a possible civil or criminal response.
  Abstract: In the United States, parents and guardians have been punished for the acts of their children and wards through three main approaches: (1) laws prohibiting acts labeled "contributing to delinquency;" (2) civil liability under the general concept of parental responsibility; and (3) recent laws or ordinances defining certain parental actions or omissions as crimes, usually misdemeanors. Appellate courts have upheld laws holding parents civilly liable for vandalism or other problems, although the financial limits these laws include make it clear that the goal is juvenile crime control, not restitution. Furthermore, various States and localities now permit fines or incarceration of parents for acts committed by their children. Nevertheless, anecdotal material, statistics from New Hampshire, and Federal data indicate that the laws do not significantly affect delinquency rates. Thus, in the absence of definitive data on the subject, legislatures and judges should refrain from punishing parents for their children's acts. 97 footnotes
  Main Term(s): Vicarious liability ; Parental influence
  Index Term(s): Juvenile codes ; Juvenile delinquent family relations ; Parental liability
  Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
  Country: United States of America
  Language: English
  To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.