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NCJ Number: 78565 Find in a Library
Title: Do Laws Make a Difference?
Journal: Journal of Social Service Research  Volume:2  Dated:(1979)  Pages:245-265
Author(s): W L Grichting
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 21
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: An analysis of the juvenile codes in the 50 States and the District of Columbia based on 47 variables regarding issues of fairness and justice failed to reveal any relationship between the legal climate and patterns of adjudication and disposition.
Abstract: On the basis of the data gathered, four dimensions were identified: overall desirability, parens patriae ideology, scope of juvenile justice, and protection of youths' future. The study then proposed that high desirability, parens patriae, and protection of youth scores should be accompanied by lower commitment rates and a lower percentage of status offenders among committed youth. Moreover, commitment rates should decrease as the scope of jurisdiction broadened. Per capita rates of adjudication and disposition were calculated from daily population counts in the 50 states for 1973 and interviews with personnel in the statistical units of State agencies responsible for providing residential services to delinquents. The finding of no relationship between the legal climate and patterns of adjudication and disposition may have been due to the fact that research on treatment of juvenile offenders should examine case law, extenuating circumstances of a particular case, and available dispositional alternatives. Further statistical analyses, however, found that legal climate was a sufficient but not necessary condition for policy output. In conclusion, juvenile codes do not make a difference in the administration of justice but appear to justify the status quo rather than bring about change. A list of the 47 variables, tables, and 11 references are included.
Index Term(s): Dispositions; Equal Protection; Juvenile codes; State-by-state analyses
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