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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 120475 Find in a Library
Title: Alternative Methods of Conflict -- Settling and Sanctioning: Their Impact on Young Offenders (From Social Intervention: Potential and Constraints, P 315-332, 1987, Klaus Hurrelmann, et. al., eds.)
Author(s): G Albrecht; S Karstedt-Henke
Date Published: 1987
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: Walter de Gruyter & Co
1 Berlin 30, Germany United
Sale Source: Walter de Gruyter & Co
Genthiner Str 13
1 Berlin 30,
Germany (Unified)
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Language: English
Country: West Germany (Former)
Annotation: This study, committed to the labeling approach and the concept of radical non-intervention, assumes that in most cases involving juvenile delinquency penal reaction is neither necessary nor reasonable because it will usually change the constellations of causes in a negative way.
Abstract: In order to compare alternative forms of sanctioning in juvenile justice courts, the study evaluated a program of "diversion to nothing" and tested the labeling theory, which follows developmental stages from primary deviance to a criminal career. Previous research, in which the approach was not explicitly etiological, but a theory of social control, was formulated in a very general manner. Because there was no empirical evidence of the veracity of the labeling approach, it was chosen as the central orientation of this study, while elements of other theories were incorporated as well. In contrast to the labeling approach, the deterrence theory of deviant behavior holds that the probability of such behavior is primarily a function of perceived certainty and severity of sanctions. The control theory of Travis Hirschi assumes that parental attachment, commitment to conventional life goals, and belief in conforming value patterns minimize the probability of deviance. For the purposes of this study, three stages of the labeling process were identified: detection of the offender, label encapsulation, and secondary deviance as a result of label encapsulation. Label amplifying, impeding, and mitigating factors were identified for each stage. The decrease of self esteem and of legal opportunities, and educational and occupational achievements were the causal or connecting links between labeling and secondary deviance. Etiological theories were used to control the effects of those driving forces of a criminal career not induced by the labeling process itself. Because the labeling theory is strictly opposed to the effects of sanctions as described by the theory of general prevention, this study contributes to the identification of the impact of deterrence on the individual offender. 7 figures, 10 endnotes, 77 references.
Main Term(s): Labeling theory
Index Term(s): Deterrence; Problem behavior
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