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NCJ Number: 70115 Find in a Library
Title: Juvenile Delinquency and the Psychology of General Deterrence
Journal: International Journal of Social Psychiatry  Volume:22  Issue:2  Dated:(1976)  Pages:112-119
Author(s): J Kraus
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 8
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: The validity of the concept of general deterrence in relation to juveniles was subjected to an empirical test in this Australian study.
Abstract: The study tested the effectiveness of apprehension and punishment in deterring potential offenders and the relevancy of socioeconomic factors to these perceptions. Two pairs of municipalities in a metropolitan area were constructed. Each pair was comprised of a municipality with a high juvenile delinquency rate and of one with a low rate. The members of each pair were matched according to the vocational composition of the adult male populations, approximate distances from the city proper, and the degree of industrialization. Then, the most centrally located State high school for boys was selected in each municipality for the study. Since the smallest sample included 38 students, the same number was selected randomly from each of the others. A 22-item questionnaire was used to determine the boys' feelings about punishment and about public attitudes towards juvenile offenders. The findings did not support the hypothesis that potential juvenile offenders are deterred by fear of apprehension and punishment or by having an objective knowledge of penal measures. Attitudes were found to vary with different combinations of socioeconomic status and delinquency levels. However, a significantly greater number of boys in areas of high socioeconomic status saw the public attitude as becoming more punitive than boys in areas of low socioeconomic status did. The findings are discussed in the light of recent literature. The study concludes that the prevention of juvenile delinquency should be based on the acquisition of appropriate social values at home and in school, not on fear of judicial retribution. A review of the literature on the deterrent effect of punishment and 35 references are included. Statistical results are presented in tabular form.
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Australia; Deterrence effectiveness; Juvenile delinquency prevention
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