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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 90500 Find in a Library
Title: Children and Justice - Decision-Making in Children's Hearings and Juvenile Courts
Author(s): S Asquith
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 260
Sponsoring Agency: Columbia University Press
New York, NY 10025
Sale Source: Columbia University Press
562 W. 113th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: The text analyzes legal philosophies underlying juvenile justice systems and compares decisionmaking in two different organizational and administrative structures, the juvenile court in England and the children's hearings in Scotland, with attention to the translation of social ideology into actual practice.
Abstract: The theoretical section explores two primary criticisms of the juvenile justice system and their relationship to current dissatisfaction with welfarism: the arguments that children's rights receive insufficient protection in a welfare system and that measures imposed on children should be offense rather than child-oriented. The author addresses the relevance of ideology to social policy, (noting that both English and Scottish laws assume that delinquency is a behavioral condition rather than a legal or judicial category), as well as social controls and the different conceptions of human action within various theories of delinquency and crime control. The author also analyzes biological, behavioral, psychological, sociological, and process-oriented explanations of crime from the deterministic perspective. The second section describes the frames of relevance employed by panel members and magistrates and the methodology used to compare decisionmaking in 2 samples: 33 people in Scotland registered as panel members in 1 administrative area and 31 magistrates on the juvenile bench in an English district during 1972-73. Panel members ascribed more importance to welfare considerations than did the magistrates, but both groups gave more importance to individualistic rather than sociological explanations. Intentionality was equally important to both, although magistrates also considered additional personal responsibility factors. While not overly judicial in their orientation, panel members distinguished between offenders and nonoffenders. Panels and magistrates employed different frames of relevance in their decisionmaking, with panels interpreting reports about offenders in terms of the need for care and magistrates focusing on responsibility. Tables, 5 case studies, approximately 311 references, and an index are included.
Index Term(s): Decisionmaking; England; Juvenile adjudication; Juvenile courts; Scotland
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