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NCJ Number: 51262 Find in a Library
Title: EFFECT OF JUVENILE JUSTICE PROCESSING ON THE SELF-LABELING OF JUVENILE OFFENDERS
Author(s): L J SIEGEL
Date Published: 1975
Page Count: 235
Sponsoring Agency: UMI Dissertation Services
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
Sale Source: UMI Dissertation Services
300 North Zeeb Road
P.O. Box 1346
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
United States of America
Type: Thesis/Dissertation
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM CREATES SELF-LABELING IN JUVENILE OFFENDERS AND PERPETUATES THEIR DEVIANCE IS EXPLORED IN A STUDY OF COURT-PROCESSED AND OTHER WHITE MALE JUVENILES IN MASSACHUSETTS.
Abstract: LABELING THEORY HOLDS THAT A PERSON'S SELF-CONCEPT WILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECTED BY INTERACTIONS WITH OFFICIAL LABELING SOURCES, SUCH AS THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM. THE OFFICIALLY LABELED DEVIANT IS BELIEVED TO EXPERIENCE NEGATIVE SOCIAL AND PERSONAL LIABILITIES, INCLUDING SELF-LABELS (THE LABELED INDIVIDUAL'S ACCEPTANCE OF THE LABEL AS HIS OR HER PERSONAL IDENTITY) AND INCREASING COMMITMENT TO DEVIANCE. SAMPLES OF 203 MALE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN QUINCY. MASS., AND 240 COURT-PROCESSED MALE JUVENILES IN BOSTON, MASS., AND QUINCY COMPLETED QUESTIONNAIRES DESIGNED TO MEASURE SELF-LABELING RELATIVE TO CRIMINALITY AND FAILURE, AND PERCEPTION OF LABELING BY SIGNIFICANT OTHERS. ALL OF THE YOUTHS IN THE COURT SAMPLES WERE SURVEYED BEFORE THEIR TRIALS; 28 WERE TESTED AGAIN IMMEDIATELY AFTER THEIR TRIALS, AND 167 WERE TESTED AGAIN 4 TO 6 MONTHS LATER. COMPARED TO THE HIGH SCHOOL SAMPLE, THE OFFICIALLY LABELED COURT SAMPLE SHOWED GREATER SELF-LABELING AND PERCEPTION OF LABELING BY OTHERS. SELF-LABELS AND PERCEPTION OF LABELS BY OTHERS WERE RELATED TO SELF-REPORTED DELINQUENT BEHAVIOR. DELINQUENT BEHAVIOR WAS A MORE IMPORTANT CORRELATE OF SELF-LABELING THAN WAS AN OFFICIAL LABEL. IN THE COURT SAMPLE, SELF-LABELING AND PERCEPTION OF LABELING BY OTHERS REMAINED STABLE OR DECLINED AFTER COURT PROCESSING. ONLY YOUTHS WHO REPORTED LITTLE PREVIOUS CONTACT WITH THE LAW BUT WHO RECEIVED FAIRLY SERIOUS DISPOSTIONS INCREASED SELF-LABELING AFTER THEIR TRIALS. ANALYSIS OF POSTTRIAL DELINQUENCY IN THE COURT SAMPLE FOUND THAT ONLY PRETRIAL VARIABLES--PERCEPTIONS OF LABELING BY OTHERS AND REPORTED DELINQUENCY--PREDICTED THE VARIANCE OF POSTTRIAL DELINQUENCY. IT WAS CONCLUDED THAT THE OFFICIAL LABELING PROCESS HAD RELATIVELY LITTLE EFFECT ON DEVIANT BEHAVIOR. THE RESUTLS LEND LITTLE SUPPORT TO THE LABELING PERSPECTIVE. ALTHOUGH SOME OF THE SOCIAL-PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF LABELING--E.G., THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SELF-LABELING AND DELINQUENCY--ARE SUPPORTED, THE ROLE OF OFFICIAL LABELING IN ACTUALLY CREATING SELF-LABELS AND SUSTAINING DEVIANCE IS DOUBTFUL. THE FINDINGS IMPLY THAT THE JUVENILE COURT CAN PLAY A TREATMENT ROLE WITHOUT FEAR OF DAMAGING THE MAJORITY OF YOUTHS WHO COME BEFORE IT. SUPPORTING DATA, COPIES OF STUDY INSTRUMENTS, AND A BIBLIOGRAPHY ARE PROVIDED. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED--LKM)
Index Term(s): Labeling theory; Male juvenile delinquents; Massachusetts; Self concept
Note: STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT ALBANY - DOCTORAL DISSERTATION
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51262

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