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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 75480 Find in a Library
Title: Runaway Youth
Journal: Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare  Volume:4  Issue:7  Dated:(September 1977)  Pages:1122-1131
Author(s): R M Grinnell; M Loftis
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Data collected on 239 teenaged runaways indicated that, regardless of the dispositions they received, youths had an approximated 50 percent chance of recidivating.
Abstract: Although running away from home has been relabeled as a status offense, runaway youths still face three possible dispositions: counseling and release at intake, referral to a social agency, and referral to the juvenile court for adjudication and probation. Current appeals to divert runaways from the juvenile justice system assume that this approach is more effective in preventing delinquency, despite the lack of empirical research on the impact of various dispositions on recidivism. This study selected 105 male and 134 female runaways from the records of a probation department in the southwestern U.S. Most were white, averaged 14.3 years of age, and were from families with incomes of about $9,000. Almost half the parents were divorced or legally separated. Each subject was followed for 1 year, and in January 1976 recidivism occurrences for the preceding year were tabulated. In regard to disposition, 56 percent were classified as settled at intake, 36 percent were referred to another agency, and 6 percent were placed on probation. The total average recidivism rate was 1.101. Of the 88 who had committed at least 1 subsequent status offense, the data revealed that offenses were committed by 31 percent of the settled at intake group, 38 percent of the referred group, and 73 percent of the probation group. In order to evaluate treatment for runaways, future research should focus on the disposition decisionmaking process as well as on individual programs. Charts and 14 footnotes are included. (Author abstract modified.)
Index Term(s): Dispositions; Juvenile status offenses; Recidivism; Runaways; Status offender diversion
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