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NCJ Number: 77741 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Delinquents and Status Offenders - The Similarity of Differences
Journal: Juvenile and Family Court Journal  Volume:32  Issue:2  Dated:(May 1981)  Pages:3-10
Author(s): S P Fjeld; L Newsom; R M Fjeld
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A comparison of the behavior of status offenders and delinquents indicated that the two groups share a substantial amount of unpredictability and that separate handling of these types of offenders is neither necessary nor even desirable.
Abstract: Proposals to separate delinquent and status offenders and remove the latter from juvenile court jurisdiction have been based on the arguments that juvenile court is stigmatizing and that detaining status offenders with delinquents in juvenile facilities can be harmful. The psychological services of the Hamilton County Juvenile Court (Tenn.) studied 92 consecutive psychological referrals for about 14 months in 1975-76. Fifty-one were status offenders, 32 were delinquents, and 9 were dependent and neglected. About half were female and half male, and only five were not white. Findings revealed that delinquents are more apt to repeat offenses than status offenders and when they repeat are more apt to repeat delinquent offenses. Status offenders are much less apt to repeat offenses and tend to be more variable in the type of offense when repeating. The younger offender is more likely to shift to another offense, while older delinquents are less likely to shift to status offenses. Because status offenders and delinquents are similar with respect to the unpredictability of their behavior, the two groups cannot be clearly separated. It appears unlikely that any program, regardless of where situated, would be more effective than the juvenile court system. Indeed, given the considerable overlap of behavior, separate programs might result in shuffling individuals from one agency to another as behavior fluctuates.
Index Term(s): Behavior patterns; Comparative analysis; Juvenile status offenders; Status offender diversion
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