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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 73915 Find in a Library
Title: Police Reports, Social Service Inquiries and Judicial Decisions
Journal: Annales de Vaucresson  Dated:special issue (1979)  Pages:291-334
Author(s): A Lahalle
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 44
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: France
Annotation: This paper examines the role which police reports and social workers' investigations into the home environments of juvenile delinquents play in assisting juvenile judges in their adjudications of individual cases.
Abstract: French juvenile codes define the chief goal of juvenile justice as the reeducation and social reintegration of the young offenders. It is therefore crucial that juvenile judges be informed of the type of home environment which each defendant can count on, whether supportive or criminogenic. This information on delinquents' families can be requested by juvenile judges to help them decide whether to return the youths to their families on probation or under some diversion program, or to have the juveniles institutionalized. In this study, the files of 386 juveniles were examined to ascertain if youths' ethnic origin influenced police officer and social worker recomendations and subsequent judicial dispositions. Agency investigators' subjective evaluations of home environments and juveniles' personalities were compared for youthful offenders of French, Maghrebian, Latin, and other backgrounds. Maghrebians received heavily negative behavior ratings from police officers although their family characteristics were evaluated as good. While police officers recommended no penalty for 72.2 percent of French youths, 45.2 percent of the Maghrebians were recommended for placement or unspecified measures and only 4.8 percent for home education. Social worker and police opinions differed: the former recommended 22.2 percent of Maghrebian cases for placement and suggested education in the family for 29.6 percent of this group, feeling that the traditions of Maghrebian family life evidenced maladaptation to the dominant culture. Judicial dispositions showed little regard for the categories of lenient recommendations made by social workers or police officers, while police placement recommendations and judges' dispositions corresponded highly, especially for Maghrebian youths. It is concluded that police officers hold more repressive attitudes toward Maghrebian juvenile delinquents than do social workers and that judges view agency recommendations for release or educational measures merely as an informative element, without determinant value in their decisionmaking. Tabular data, sample forms and partial reports are supplied. Also included are 12 notes and 17 references.
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Discrimination; Domestic relations; France; Home environment; Judicial discretion; Juvenile adjudication; Minorities; Personality assessment; Police attitudes; Police discretion; Police hostage-negotiation units; Social workers
Note: Paper presented at the International Colloquium of Vaucresson, May 30-June 1, 1979.
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