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NCJ Number: 51213 Find in a Library
Title: COURTS, DOCTORS, AND DELINQUENTS - AN INQUIRY INTO THE USES OF PSYCHIATRY IN YOUTH CORRECTIONS
Author(s): M J R HARPER
Corporate Author: Smith College School for Social Work
United States of America
Date Published: 1974
Page Count: 21
Sponsoring Agency: Smith College School for Social Work
Northampton, MA 01060
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: TO DETERMINE HOW WELL DIAGNOSES AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF PSYCHIATRISTS PREDICT FUTURE BEHAVIOR OF ASSAULTIVE BOYS A SAMPLE OF 100 JUVENILES IS FOLLOWED FOR 1 YEAR. CLINICAL IMPRESSIONS PROVED TO BE POOR PREDICTORS.
Abstract: A RANDOM SAMPLE OF 100 JUVENILES WAS CHOSEN FROM THE FILES OF THE JUVENILE COURT SYSTEM AND YOUTH SERVICES DEPARTMENT OF MASSACHUSETTS. FULL RECORDS WERE UNAVAILABLE FOR 12 BOYS, BUT THEY DID NOT REENTER THE JUVENILE SYSTEM. THE PSYCHIATRISTS DEVELOPED A NINE POINT RATING SCALE AND USED A BATTERY OF TESTS TO CLASSIFY THE BOYS AS NORMAL, NEUROTIC, OR AS POSSESSING NEUROTIC CHARACTERS, OR ANTISOCIAL CHARACTERS. A FEW BOYS ALSO WERE CLASSIFIED AS POSSESSING SCHIZOID CHARACTERS, EXHIBITING PRIMITIVE EMOTIONAL DISTURBANCE, OR AS PSYCHOTIC. OF THE 30 BOYS RECOMMENDED FOR CLOSED PLACEMENT IN A STATE HOSPITAL OR CORRECTIONS INSTITUTION, ONLY 5 WERE SO TREATED LEAVING 95 OF THE BOYS TO RECEIVE MINIMAL SUPERVISION. THE FOLLOWUP EXAMINES RECIDIVISM IN TERMS OF PREVIOUS HISTORY OF ASSAULTIVE CRIME, SOCIAL MILIEU, MENTAL DEFICIENCY, RESIDENCE, RACE, AND DRUG ABUSE. DURING THE FOLLOWUP PERIOD 57 BOYS COMMITTED 141 OFFENSES BUT ONLY 23 OF THE BOYS COMMITTED FURTHER ASSAULTIVE OFFENSES. BOYS CLASSIFIED AS DANGEROUS AND RECOMMENDED FOR CLOSED PLACEMENT SHOWED THE SAME RATE OF ASSAULTIVE BEHAVIOR AS THOSE CLASSIFIED AS NORMAL OR SAFE ENOUGH TO BE RETURNED TO THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS. BOYS WHO COMMITTED A GREATER NUMBER OF ASSAULTIVE CRIMES IN THE PAST WERE MORE LIKELY TO COMMIT ASSAULTIVE OFFENSES IN THE FOLLOWUP PERIOD. BOYS FROM POOR SOCAL MILIEUS WERE MORE LIKELY TO COMMIT ASSAULTIVE CRIMES THAN BOYS FROM GOOD SOCIAL MILIEUS. BLACK YOUTHS COMMITTED ALMOST TWICE AS MANY ASSAULTS AS WHITE YOUTHS ALTHOUGH 74 PERCENT OF THE BLACKS WERE CLASSIFIED WITHIN THE TWO 'HEALTHIER' CATEGORIES, COMPARED TO 12 PERCENT OF THE WHITES. THE USE OF CLINICAL DISCRETION TO DETERMINE PLACEMENT OF ASSAULTIVE BOYS IS CRITICIZED IN FAVOR OF RELIANCE ON LEGAL DUE PROCESS. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT PSYCHIATRIC DIAGNOSES IS VALUABLE FOR TREATMENT BUT SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON AS A PREDICTOR OF FUTURE BEHAVIOR. TABLES PRESENT STUDY DATA. A BIBLIOGRAPHY IS INCLUDED. (GLR)
Index Term(s): Juvenile courts; Juveniles; Massachusetts; Prediction; Psychiatric services; Psychological evaluation; Violent crimes; Violent offenders
Note: BASED ON A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF MASTER OF SOCIAL WORK AT SMITH COLLEGE
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51213

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