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NCJ Number: 92546 Find in a Library
Title: Folk-Lore and Fact in Truancy Research
Journal: British Journal of Criminology  Volume:23  Issue:4  Dated:(October 1983)  Pages:336-357
Author(s): J D Pratt
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 22
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: The research of Berg et al raises several ethical, legal, penal, and methodological issues. Berg's research monitored the effect of the use of adjournments by Leeds (England) magistrates when disposing of truancy cases.
Abstract: The use of adjournments, rather than supervision, for some truants is, prima facie; a more effective means of improving school attendance. Yet, the claim that adjournments 'work' for the truant population as a whole needs qualification. Ethical and legal questions accompany the practice of randomization of human subjects. The practice of sentencing juveniles on the basis of chance appears to contravene the specific statutory rule that courts shall have regard for the welfare of a young person. The phenomenon of truancy receives different considerations in the Leeds juvenile court. The sheer volume of educational cases seems out of all proportion. The Leeds court relies disproportionately heavily on the use of care orders in truancy cases, at a time when trends in England and Wales as a whole are set in the opposite direction. The positivistic dominance of this and much truancy research contributes to folklore rather than knowledge and understanding. Truancy should be placed in the full context of truants' lives. Possibly the most disturbing alternative is to continue accepting that many young people are disturbed or pathological in some way because they leave school. Some recent research lends empirical support to the earlier subcultural arguments that schools themselves may be the cause of disaffection.
Index Term(s): Code of ethics; Deferred prosecution programs; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Truancy
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