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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 91461 Find in a Library
Title: Moral-Development Theory and Practice for Youthful and Adult Offenders (From Personality Theory, Moral Developments and Criminal Behavior, P 281-355, 1983, William S Laufer and James M Day, ed. - See NCJ-91449)
Author(s): W S Jenings; R Kilkenny; L Kohlberg
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 75
Sponsoring Agency: Lexington Books
New York, NY 10022
Sale Source: Lexington Books
866 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10022
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper provides a comprehensive review of theory, empirical findings, and treatment interventions that relate the role of moral development to delinquent and adult criminal behavior.
Abstract: An outline of the cognitive-developmental approach to moral development is first presented. The review assumes that growth toward moral maturity involves a series of qualitative changes in how a person understands the sociomoral world. The theory presented demonstrates how such perceptions become increasingly complex, inclusive of other people, and adequate to demands. Thirteen studies reviewed examine the relationship between juvenile delinquency and moral reasoning. Other sociological and psychological theories of delinquency cases are discussed, with a view toward integrating the most valuable insights of each. The study finally proposes an approach to treatment intervention that reflects what has been learned from theory, research, and practice. Called the 'just-community approach' to corrections, it is guided in its design by the goal of creating conditions that maximize developmental growth. This includes an optional match between the client's world view and the moral atmosphere of the program. This implies that rules and authority relationships within the program be perceived as fair yet intellectually and emotionally challenging to the client. This optional match between client and program reflects the stage-adjacent stimulus for development, whereby the program rules are understood by the client but are slightly more inclusive of other perspectives so that the client's world view is stretched under the perceptions of others in the group. A total of 123 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Attitude change; Juvenile delinquency factors
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