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NCJ Number: 50881 Find in a Library
Title: POLICE DISCRETION IN VICTORIA (AUSTRALIA) - THE POLICE DECISION TO PROSECUTE
Journal: AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY  Volume:14  Issue:1  Dated:(FEBRUARY 1978)  Pages:33-40
Author(s): L HANCOCK
Corporate Author: Sociological Assoc of Australia and New Zealnd
University of Canterbury
Dept of Sociology
New Zealand
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Sociological Assoc of Australia and New Zealnd
Christchurch, New Zealand
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: New Zealand
Annotation: VARIABLES RELATED TO POLICE DISCRETION AND POLICE DECISIONS TO PROSECUTE IN VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, ARE EXAMINED, INCLUDING THE BEHAVIOR AND CHARACTER OF JUVENILES AND THEIR PARENTS AND SOCIOLEGAL VARIABLES.
Abstract: THE PROGRESSION OF JUVENILE OFFENDERS THROUGH DIFFERENT STAGES OF THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM IS DEPENDENT ON THE DISCRETIONARY DECISIONS OF SUCH FUNCTIONARIES AS THE POLICE AND MAGISTRATES. THE PRINCIPLE OF OFFENSE OR THE LEGALISTIC MODEL IS NOT APPROPRIATE IN JUVENILE COURTS BECAUSE OF THE COMMITMENT TO A WELFARE AND TREATMENT PHILOSOPHY AND A FOCUS ON INDIVIDUALIZED JUSTICE. TO EVALUATE THE POLICE DECISION EITHER TO RECOMMEND AN OFFICIAL WARNING OR TO PROSECUTE AND THUS REFER A JUVENILE TO COURT, DATA WERE OBTAINED FOR 300 MALE AND 141 FEMALE COURT APPEARANCES AND FOR 151 MALE AND 130 FEMALE WARNINGS. LEGALISTIC VARIABLES IN THE ANALYSIS OF DATA WERE NUMBER OF PRIOR OFFENSES AND TYPE OF OFFENSE. JUVENILE BEHAVIOR WAS ASSESSED IN RELATION TO TRUANCY, SCHOOL PERFORMANCE, SCHOOL ATTENDANCE, EMPLOYMENT, CHARACTER, AND LIKELY RECIDIVISM. INFORMATION ON PARENT BEHAVIOR PERTAINED TO MARITAL STATUS, CHARACTER, FAMILY BACKGROUND, AND WHETHER PARENTS WERE SEEN AS EXERCISING CONTROL OVER CHILDREN. VARIABLES SUCH AS CHARACTER OF COMPANIONS AND SIBLINGS, LIVING SITUATION, HOME APPEARANCE, NEIGHBORHOOD, AND SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS FELL UNDER THE HEADING OF SOCIAL LOCATION AND ENVIRONMENT. NOT ONLY WAS A WELFARE MODEL OF DECISIONMAKING MORE EVIDENT FROM POLICE DECISIONS TO WARN OR PROSECUTE JUVENILE OFFENDERS BUT ALSO LEGALISTIC VARIABLES WERE SOMETIMES NOT AS IMPORTANT AS NONLEGAL VARIABLES. THOSE IN THE WARNING GROUP WERE GENERALLY EVALUATED IN A POSITIVE MANNER AND WERE MORE LIKELY TO COME FROM AN INTACT HOME IN A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD AND HAVE CARING AND COMPETENT PARENTS. NEGATIVE ASSESSMENTS WERE ASSOCIATED WITH THE COURT APPEARANCE GROUP WHO WERE MORE LIKELY THAN THE WARNING GROUP TO COME FROM SINGLE-PARENT HOMES, TO BE OF LOWER SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS, AND TO LIVE IN AN AVERAGE OR LOW-STATUS NEIGHBORHOOD WITH PARENTS WHO DID NOT CONTROL THEIR CHILDREN. SUPPORTING DATA AND REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (DEP)
Index Term(s): Australia; Juvenile courts; Juvenile justice system; Police discretion; Police juvenile relations
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50881

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