skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 51985 Find in a Library
Title: CRITICAL ASSESSMENT OF LABELING IN THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM
Journal: JUSTICE SYSTEM JOURNAL  Volume:4  Issue:1  Dated:(FALL 1978)  Pages:114-129
Author(s): G L ALBRECHT; M H ALBRECHT
Corporate Author: Institute for Court Management
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: Institute for Court Management
Denver, CO 80202
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE ORIGINS AND FORMS OF LABELING THEORY ARE PRESENTED, THE STATUS OF LABELING AS A THEORY ASSESSED, THE STRENGTH OF THE THEORY EVALUATED WITH RESEARCH RESULTS, AND THE POLICY RELEVANCE OF THE THEORY CONSIDERED.
Abstract: LABELING THEORY VIEWS THE REACTION OF SOCIETY AND PARTICULARLY CRIMINAL JUSTICE AGENCIES TO NONCONFORMING BEHAVIOR TO BE A SIGNIFICANT CAUSE FOR THE REINFORCEMENT AND PERPETUATION OF ALIENATED BEHAVIOR. THIS THEORY IS ACKNOWLEDGED TO HAVE BEEN THE PRIMARY POLICY RATIONALE FOR DIVERSION AND DEINSTITUTIONALIZATION OF JUVENILES. LABELING THEORY, HOWEVER, IS SUBJECT TO PERSISTENT CHANGE AND HENCE LACKS THE RIGOR AND LOGIC OF A SCIENTIFIC THEORY. IT ALSO LACKS SUFFICIENT EMPIRICAL RESEARCH TO ESTABLISH ITS VALIDITY. RESEARCH CONDUCTED IN THE AREAS OF POLICE ARREST, COURT CONTACT, INSTITUTIONALIZATION, AND TREATMENT OF JUVENILE IS EXAMINED TO DETERMINE THE DEGREE TO WHICH LABELING THEORY IS SUBSTANTIATED. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT LABELING IS NOT FULLY DEVELOPED, RIGOROUS THEORY; RATHER, IT PROVIDES A LIMITED PERSPECTIVE THAT DRAWS NEEDED ATTENTION TO PROCESSES BY WHICH SOCIETY MAY UNWITTINGLY PRODUCE DEVIANT BEHAVIOR. IT IS TOO EARLY TO DETERMINE WHETHER LABELING WILL BE ABLE TO OBTAIN THE STATUS OF A THEORY. WHILE IT IS GRANTED THAT EVIDENCE SHOWS THE UNDESIRABLE CONSEQUENCES OF LABELING, THERE IS ALSO EVIDENCE THAT LABELING HAS DETERRENT AND TREATMENT IMPETUS. THE DESTRUCTIVE CONSEQUENCES OF LABELING ARE VIEWED AS BUT ONE SET OF FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF DELINQUENT BEHAVIOR. RESEARCHERS ARE ADVISED TO INCORPORATE LABELING, ALONG WITH OTHER CONTRIBUTING CAUSES OF DELINQUENCY, INTO A COMPLEX MODEL THAT CAN EXPLAIN AND PREDICT THE DYNAMICS OF DELINQUENCY DEVELOPMENT. THE CHALLENGE CONFRONTING PRACTITIONERS AND POLICYMAKERS IS THAT OF COMBINING THEORY AND RESEARCH WITH THE JUDGMENT OF EXPERIENCE. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Critiques; Juvenile delinquency factors; Labeling theory; Policy
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51985

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.