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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76915 Find in a Library
Title: Jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court Over Non-criminal Misbehavior (From Juvenile Justice Standards Symposium, P 120-181, 1979 - See NCJ-76912)
Author(s): P Connell
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 62
Type: Conference Material
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A symposium presentation and subsequent discussion focus on whether courts should have jurisdiction over status offenses, with emphasis on three proposed sets of standards on the subject.
Abstract: The proposed standards include those of the Joint Commission of the Institute for Judicial Administration/American Bar Association (IJA/ABA), the National Advisory Committee for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (NAC), and the Task Force on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (Task Force). The rationale for retaining jurisdiction over status offenses is that the court needs to enforce parental authority, protect children from harm, and provide necessary and otherwise unavailable services. Opponents of status offense jurisdiction argue that courts are an ineffective means of intervening in personal problems, that terms such as 'ungovernable' are unconstitutionally vague, that procedural rights are lacking with respect to status offenses, and that court authority can be used in a discriminatory fashion. The IJA/ABA Joint Commission urges elimination of traditional jurisdiction over noncriminal misbehavior, establishment of a new intervention authority, and creation of a broad range of voluntary services. The Task Force standards suggest that juvenile court jurisdiction be exercised over 'families with service needs' in cases of school truancy, repeated running away, and other cases. The types of behavior warranting jurisdiction center attention on the youth. The NAC standards differ from the other standards by retaining a jurisdictional category labeled noncriminal misbehavior, which refers to cases in which appropriate noncoercive alternatives have already been exhausted. Examination of the differing approaches States have taken toward noncriminal misbehavior in view of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act indicates that the questions presented by limiting or totally eliminating juvenile court jurisdiction over status offenders remain open. It is concluded that treatment should not be coercively imposed on juveniles, since it has demonstrably positive effects in very few cases. The subsequent discussion focuses on the effects of abolition of jurisdiction over status offenses, the court's enforcement power under the proposed standards, and other issues.
Index Term(s): Jurisdiction; Juvenile justice standards; Status offender diversion
Note: This document is available on microfiche under NCJ 76912.
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