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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
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