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NCJ Number: 201850 Find in a Library
Title: Social Context of Police Discretion with Young Offenders: An Ecological Analysis
Journal: Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice  Volume:45  Issue:2  Dated:April 2003  Pages:127-157
Author(s): Jennifer L. Schulenberg
Editor(s): Julian V. Roberts
Date Published: April 2003
Page Count: 31
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This analysis describes four theoretical perspectives of crime in order to understand the crime rates and the use of discretion by the Canadian police as it relates to delinquency.
Abstract: Prior research has determined the importance of the effects of police discretion on the official rates of delinquency. However, there is little research exploring the social context of discretion and police behavior. This study analyzed the relative contributions of four ecological theories of crime: urbanization theory, social disorganization theory, opportunity theory, and the overload hypothesis. This allows for a better understanding of crime rates and the use of discretion by Canadian police in their decisionmaking about youth. The study was conducted by gathering data in 1991 from 447 communities in Canada on crime rates and police charging practices. The data were regressed on indicators of the characteristics of the police force and the community within an analytic framework. Results offer support for the social disorganization theory of crime, and for both urbanization theory and social disorganization theories as explanations of the police use of discretion with youth, and no support for opportunity theory. Tables, notes, references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency
Index Term(s): Canada; Cultural influences; Decisionmaking; Juvenile delinquency prediction; Juvenile delinquency theory; Police discretion
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