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NCJ Number: 51451 Find in a Library
Title: PARENS PATRIAE AND DISPOSITIONS IN JUVENILE COURTS
Author(s): M SOSIN
Corporate Author: University of Wisconsin, Madison
Institute for Research on Poverty
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 38
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Madison, WI 53706
US Dept of Health, Education, and Welfare
Washington, DC 20201
Publication Number: 496-78
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE PARENS PATRIAE ORIENTATION, OFTEN CONSIDERED TO BE THE CORE OF JUVENILE COURT OPERATION, IS DISCUSSED IN RELATION TO THE POSSIBILITY OF SOCIAL CHANGE AND THE COMMUNITY CONTEXT OF JUVENILE COURTS.
Abstract: PARENS PATRIAE IS BOTH A SET OF SUGGESTIONS FOR ORGANIZING JUVENILE COURTS AND A STATEMENT OF THE IDEOLOGY OF THESE INSTITUTIONS. ORGANIZATIONAL SUGGESTIONS ENCOURAGE THE INFORMAL AND PERSONAL HANDLING OF CASES, FAVOR DISPOSITIONS BASED LARGELY ON THE DETERMINED NEEDS OF JUVENILES, AND FAVOR TREATMENT MODES DESIGNED TO EDUCATE AND CHANGE YOUTH. THREE KEY ISSUES CONCERNING THE ROLE OF PARENS PATRIAE ARE ITS DOMINANCE OF THE ORIENTATION IN JUVENILE COURTS, THE CONSISTENCY OF THE ORIENTATION, AND ITS TIES TO DISPOSITIONS. TO ASSESS THE ROLE OF ORIENTATION, THESE ISSUES ARE FORMED INTO THREE HYPOTHESES: (1) PARENS PATRIAE IS THE DOMINANT MODEL FOR ORGANIZING JUVENILE COURTS AND THE MOST WIDELY BELIEVED IDEOLOGY IN THESE INSTITUTIONS; (2) PARENS PATRIAE IS A CONSISTENT AND UNIFIED ORIENTATION IN JUVENILE COURTS; AND (3) PARENS PATRIAE LEADS TO HARSH DISPOSITIONS. THESE HYPOTHESES WERE TESTED THROUGH A MAIL SURVEY OF JUVENILE COURTS CONDUCTED BY THE NATIONAL ASSESSMENT OF JUVENILE CORRECTIONS IN 1974. THE MAIL SURVEY INVOLVED A RANDOM SAMPLE OF COURTS SELECTED FROM COUNTIES WITH MORE THAN 50,000 PEOPLE. OUT 600 QUESTIONNAIRES SENT TO COURTS BELIEVED TO HAVE JUVENILE JURISDICTIONS, THE RESPONSE RATE WAS 60 PERCENT FOR JUDGES AND 58 PERCENT FOR ADMINISTRATORS. AN EFFORT WAS MADE TO OBTAIN STATISTICS FROM STATE AND LOCAL REPORTS WHEN ADMINISTRATORS DID NOT RESPOND, AND THESE REPORTS CONTRIBUTED STATISTICS FROM 141 JURISDICTIONS SO THAT COURT STATISTICS, IN AT LEAST A PARTIAL FORM, WERE AVAILABLE FOR 378 JUVENILE COURTS. EVIDENCE OBTAINED IN THE SURVEY STRONGLY QUESTIONS THE ASSUMED CENTRALITY OF PARENS PATRIAE. THIS ORIENTATION DOES NOT EXIST BY ITSELF, IS PARTLY COMBINED WITH DUE PROCESS IN A YOUTH CONCERN ORIENTATION, AND SHARES IMPORTANCE WITH OTHER ORIENTATIONS. A NUMBER OF INDEPENDENT ORIENTATIONS SEEM TO EXIST; FOR THIS REASON, ORIENTATIONS REPRESENTED BY ATTITUDES AND GOALS OF JUDGES MAY NOT HAVE THE STRONG TIES TO DISPOSITIONS THAT MANY PEOPLE ASSUME. BOTH SOCIAL CHANGE AND LOCAL PRESSURES ON JUVENILE COURTS MAY EXPLAIN THE RESULTS, BUT IMPLICATIONS OF THE ANALYSIS FOR THEORIES ABOUT THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM AND THEIR POSSIBLE LACK OF IMPACT ARE AT LEAST AS IMPORTANT AS EXPLANATIONS. SUPPORTING DATA AND REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. THE QUESTIONNAIRE IS NOT INCLUDED. (DEP)
Index Term(s): Juvenile courts; Planning; Social change; Theory
Note: INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH ON POVERTY - DISCUSSION PAPERS UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51451

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