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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 181880 Find in a Library
Title: Competence and Judgment in Serious Juvenile Offenders: Executive Summary
Author(s): Janet I. Warren; Frances Lexcen
Date Published: 1999
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse/NCJRS
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 97-JN-FX-0018
Sale Source: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America

Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse/NCJRS
P.O. Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined how juveniles compare to adults on state-of-the-art assessments of competence-related abilities that are increasingly used with adult defendants, how the development of decisionmaking capacity and judgment may differentially impact a juvenile's competence-related abilities compared to adults, and the ways in which psychopathology affects juveniles' competence-related abilities.
Abstract: For Part I, data were collected from 102 males aged 15 and younger, 103 males aged 16 and 17, and 115 males ages 19 to 35. Participants were selected for inclusion based on their gender, age, and pretrial detention status. Measures of adjudicative competence, noncontextual judgment factors, and context-specific judgment factors were administered in interview format. In Part I, the data supported hypotheses that claimed scores on nonlegal context and context-specific judgment factors would change across age, and they would be related to decision making process and outcomes in the legally relevant vignettes. The two juvenile samples were significantly different from adults on several noncontextual and contextual measures of judgment, although the patterns varied depending on the specific factors considered. Some expected age differences were also found when reporting the possible consequences of decisions in the two vignettes. Further, demographics, adjudicative competence, and noncontextual and context-specific judgment factors all played some role in predicting respondents' decisions in the hypothetical vignettes. The study of competence in psychiatric inpatients in Part II of this study offers suggestions about psychopathology and competence. Results show that subjects with learning disorders or behavior disorders are likely to have lower IQ's than other adolescents with psychopathology. These data underscore the importance of using both competence and judgment in evaluations of decision making in legally relevant contexts. Continued research on issues of competence and judgment will provide a foundation for designing interventions to improve both adolescents' abilities to negotiate the legal system and the system's response to the particular needs of adolescent offenders.
Main Term(s): Juvenile processing
Index Term(s): Age group comparisons; Competency to stand trial; Decisionmaking; OJJDP grant-related documents; Psychological evaluation; Serious juvenile offenders
Note: See NCJ 181881 for Part I, and NCJ 181882 for Part II.
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