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NCJ Number: 99386 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Getting To Know You - Decision-Making in an Institution for Juveniles
Journal: Juvenile and Family Court Journal  Volume:36  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring 1985)  Pages:5-15
Author(s): P L Reichel
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study identifies and analyzes the situational and social-psychological aspects of classification decisionmaking in a juvenile correctional institution.
Abstract: The research was conducted from November 1978 through August 1979 in a State male juvenile correctional institution, using participant observation and interviews with staff and newly admitted residents. The study focused on staff decisionmaking in initial resident assignments (e.g., cottage, treatment program, and educational level). Two types of information were identified as important in such decisionmaking: the manner in which staff developed impressions of the boys and the nature of the assignment decisionmaking process. The symbolic interactionist perspective suggests that staff develop impressions of juveniles on the basis of the 'meaning' the juveniles have for the staff. Such meanings are influenced by the previous experiences or 'background expectancies' of staff members. Observations supported this view, as the staff used background expectancies to decide what information was important in developing an impression of a boy. This involved jugements about the juveniles based on whether they were from an urban or rural area, their demeanor, and comparisons with other boys in the institution. In the assignment meeting, staff members tended to justify their initial impressions of each boy even in the face of contradictory information. The decisionmaking was also influenced by an established routine that standardized decisionmaking for all cases. Overall, decisionmaking lacked insight into the unique characteristics of each resident and individualized treatment requirements. Tabular data and 37 notes are provided.
Index Term(s): Correctional institutions (juvenile); Inmate classification; Juvenile Corrections/Detention Decisionmaking
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