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NCJ Number: 156683 Find in a Library
Title: Punishing Parents To Deter Delinquency: A Realistic Remedy?
Journal: American Journal of Police  Volume:13  Issue:4  Dated:(1994)  Pages:113-133
Author(s): L Dundes
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 21
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the effectiveness of California's law in making parents criminally liable for their children's criminal behavior.
Abstract: By 1961, 48 States had statutes that hold parents criminally responsible for contributing to their children's delinquency. The California law differs from laws in most other States, because in making parents criminally liable for their children's behavior, the law does not proscribe specific behavior, but rather demands that parents improve their parenting, an intangible yet intrusive step. Since this remedy for delinquency shows little promise of wide success, its primary function may be to satisfy the demands of frightened citizens. In most cases, the parental activity targeted is already punishable under other laws. Moreover, the fact that in California parents can have charges dropped if they participate in counseling and parenting classes suggests a goal closer to conformity than retribution. The conformity and guidance fostered by the program has helped some parents regain control of their children, since it teaches them parenting skills that address the new generation of violence often manifested through juvenile gangs. Police officers should be permitted to focus on the parent's behavior and require the parent to have an independent interest in the child's illegal activity. As in criminal prosecution, in parental responsibility statutes, causes and effects should show close and apparent connection, especially since the influence of parental permission or acquiescence remains uncertain. 42 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency prevention
Index Term(s): California; Gang Prevention; Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile delinquent family relations; Parental influence; Parental liability; State laws
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