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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 74912 Find in a Library
Title: Diversion - Some Theoretical Considerations
Journal: Canadian Criminology Forum  Volume:3  Issue:1  Dated:(Fall 1980)  Pages:44-56
Author(s): C P Laprairie
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 13
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This paper examines the concept and enforcement of juvenile court diversion in Canada as viewed by traditional criminologists who support the consensus model and by radical theorists who argue for the conflict model.
Abstract: Traditional criminologists view delinquency as a dysfunction or deviance from the moral values upon which society has reached a consensus. Radical criminologists adhere to the conflict model, according to which society is in a constant state of conflict between clearly delineated groups, the powerful and the powerless, with delinquency as an expression of that conflict. Consensus theorists regard diversion, whether applied by police or juvenile court magistrates, as inspired by parens-patriae values, which are nonpunitive and therapeutic, and involving informal and nonstigmatizing procedures. Radical criminologists theorize that diversion endangers the due process rights of juveniles because if its arbitrary nature in selecting diversion candidates and are skeptical regarding the true goals of diversion. Further, consensus theorists consider diversion an essential element of social and criminal justice reform. However, conflict theorists regard diversion as another interventionist technique and a product of capitalistic society, unnecessary where economic equality exists. According to such conflict theorists as Majelski, the most objectionable feature of diversion is that it presents to the public an appearance of reform without any major modifications of social values, thus creating a literal diversion of public attention away from critical, fundamental reform. Where consensus theorists see diversion promoting rehabilitation, conflict theorists see control by treatment. Majelski sees even failure to evaluate diversion's results as intentional, a means for duping the public into accepting it unquestioningly. Endnotes and 37 references are appended. A brief summary in French and charts illustrating the models are also furnished.
Index Term(s): Canada; Conflict theory; Court reform; Deviance; Juvenile court diversion; Parens patriae; Sentencing reform; Social control theory
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