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NCJ Number: 93303 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Removing Runaways From the Justice System - The Experience in Washington State (From Juvenile Justice Policy, P 95-111, 1984, Scott H Decker, ed. - See NCJ-93299)
Author(s): J G McKelvy
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
US Securities and Exchange Cmssn
Washington, DC 20549-2736
Grant Number: 79-JN-AX-0028
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examines the legal-social services impact of the decriminalization of status offenses under the revised Washington State Juvenile Code, with emphasis upon State response to the problem of runaways.
Abstract: Washington State's new Juvenile Code involves the decriminalization of status offenses, removing noncriminal offenders from the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, and the deinstitutionalization of status also includes the assumptions of due process and safeguards against the deprivation of liberty for noncriminal youth. The changes have highly restricted coercive intervention by the State for nonoffending youth. Under this legislation, the juvenile courts have been divested of their authority over runaways, such that any services provided runaways must be voluntary and provided through social service agencies. This study examined the impact of this legislation and the State's efforts to meet its moral obligation to provide appropriate services for noncriminal, troubled youth. Twenty sample counties which included about 90 percent of the total State population participated in the study, conducted 2 years after the implementation of the code. Results reported are based on structured interviews with 19 crisis residential centers, and 38 law enforcement personnel. The law prohibits placement of runaway youth in locked facilities, but it does allow law enforcement officers to take juveniles to semisecure or nonsecure shelter-care facilities. The shelter care directors interviewed indicated they did not physically restrain a youth who was determined to leave the shelter before an appropriate placement could be arranged. Because the services to runaways and their families were strictly voluntary, those involved in providing services indicated some chronic incorrigible youth with behavioral problems were not using the services. Although most of the workers with runaways expressed frustration in trying to provide services to the problem youth without legal backup, the majority still supported the concept of noncoercive intervention. Tabular data, 16 references and 7 notes are provided.
Index Term(s): Decriminalization; Deinstitutionalization; Juvenile status offenders; Runaways; Voluntary treatment; Washington
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