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NCJ Number: 97759 Find in a Library
Title: Irrelevance of Theory and Evidence - Diversion Reconsidered (From Youth Crime, Social Control and Prevention, P 21-27, 1984, M Brusten et al, ed. - See NCJ-97757)
Author(s): K Polk
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 7
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: West Germany (Former)
Annotation: This paper analyzes the role that theory and evidence play in setting the priorities for Youth Services Bureaus (YSB's).
Abstract: For most YSB's, guidance comes from a loosely woven set of concepts apparently derived from a combination of poorly articulated common sense and unexplicated varieties of remediation approaches. However, with the onset of the 1970's, a 'national strategy' was launched which asserted a view of delinquency grounded in an analysis of a product of social structural conditions. This strategy called for systems changes to achieve several goals, including provision of more socially acceptable and meaningful roles for youth and reduction of negative labeling. However, analysis reveals a number of problems with these youth programs. The programs were devoted fundamentally to individual or person-centered changes, and virtually all were based on stigma -the 'client' had to have a 'problem' to enter most programs. A further factor which compounded the problems was a two-tiered national strategy: at the top were program administrators who said whatever was needed to win government grants; at the bottom were the line staff who were pervasively committed to person-centered strategies. Studies indicate, however, that almost all person-centered strategies have negative results. Commentators suggest further that diversion agencies such as YSB's widen the net of social control rather than narrow it. More importantly, several studies indicate that no discernible effects result from diversion and that diversion may cause harm. However, there is little in the posture of YSB's that indicates research findings or evaluations are a significant factor in planning or service implementation. Included are 25 references.
Index Term(s): Juvenile diversion programs; Juvenile justice research; Research uses in policymaking; Youth Services Bureau
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