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The first of its kind to integrate theory and “real-world” application in juvenile delinquency, this extensively researched volume addresses today's most current developments and issues, with probing examinations of the extent, nature and origins of American juvenile delinquency; the factors in contemporary life that generate or influence delinquency; and the juvenile justice process and methods for controlling, treating and preventing delinquency. The authors examine, define and explain delinquency, the effects of the social environment on delinquency, the juvenile justice process, and preventing, treating, and controlling delinquency. For those interested in a clear examination of juvenile delinquency.
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The first of its kind to integrate theory and "real-world" application in juvenile delinquency, this extensively researched text addresses today's most current developments and issues, with probing examinations of: 1) the extent, nature, and origins of American juvenile delinquency; 2) the factors in contemporary life that generate or influence delinquency; and 3) the juvenile justice process and methods for controlling, treating, and preventing delinquency.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Publication of this fifth edition of Juvenile Delinquency provided an opportunity to reflect on the changes in the amount and types of juvenile misbehavior and the juvenile justice responses to it that have taken place since the first edition was published 25 years ago. The cyclical nature of delinquency and the increased formalization of juvenile court procedures and juvenile justice system approaches became apparent in this examination.
The first edition explored the problems of youth deviance and unlawful behavior in the United States at the close of the 1970s and the methods used at that time to inhibit, detect, punish, deter, or reduce this activity. It reported trends and developments in the amount and nature of delinquency that are still occurring, including increased similarities in the amount and types of offenses committed by males and females; involvement of younger age groups in delinquent activity; and increases in middle class suburban and rural youths' misbehavior, gang activity, and substance abuse. It was noted that treatment strategies had moved beyond the "medical model" and had begun to focus on minimization of penetration into the system, community treatment, deinstitutionalization, and the "right to punishment."
The second edition focused on delinquency in the mid-1980s. The continuing narrowing of the gap between the rates of male and female offending and overrepresentation of minority group members in arrests for property crime and violent crime were important trends. Key issues were the pressures for removal of both status offenders (those who commit offenses that are unlawful only for juveniles) and serious violent delinquents from juvenile court jurisdiction, and revision of juvenile codes to formalize processing of serious offenders and mandate their referral to adult criminal courts or specialized youth courts. For other offenders, the emphasis was on diversion, community treatment, and deinstitutionalization.
At the beginning of the 1990s, the third edition noted increases in arrests of juveniles for offenses related to substance abuse and substantial increases in gang activity, which was regarded as a serious threat to safety in the schools and inner-city neighborhoods. As a result of policies for separate handling of delinquent and status offenders at all levels of the juvenile justice system, the debate over status offenders had largely subsided. Increased attention was given to physical and sexual abuse as threats to the welfare of children and the juvenile court procedures for dealing with these problems became important. Firmer handling of serious offenders and more severe dispositions for habitual, serious offenders had been initiated, leading to increases in the number of juveniles held in long-term institutions. Treatment in institutions now focused on education, job skills, and preparation for return to the community rather than on the personal problems of the offenders. For other offenders, restitution, community service, and intensive probation were used. Privatization of juvenile corrections was a new trend.
When the fourth edition appeared in the mid-1990s, increases in arrests of juveniles for serious and violent crimes and overrepresentation of minority group youths in these types of offenses, new surges in gang activity and expansion in the age ranges of gang members, and rapid increases in female delinquency were noted. These trends were seen as creating an identity crisis for the juvenile courts. Many states lowered the upper age of juvenile court jurisdiction so that older adolescent offenders could be referred directly to adult courts. Juvenile court procedures were formalized and there were new pressures for complete removal of status offenders from juvenile court jurisdiction. Increases in the number of abuse, neglect, and dependency cases required the juvenile courts to devote more attention to these cases. The demands for harsher penalties for serious juvenile offenders resulted in waiver of more cases to adult criminal courts. The trend toward more severe dispositions for habitual, serious offenders continued, with increases in the number of institutionalized juveniles and close supervision of them when they were released. Institutional treatment continued to focus on the skills needed for reintegration into the community. Privatization of juvenile corrections increased. The schools began to take greater responsibility for delinquency prevention programming.
As this fifth edition of Juvenile Delinquency appears at the beginning of the 21st century, it is apparent that the problems of youth have not changed appreciably over the past 25 years, but certain trends can be identified. Juvenile arrests for both violent and property crimes declined considerably in the late 1990s, but offenses related to the personal, family and community behavior of youths, including substance abuse, offenses against family, and disorderly conduct, increased. School-related violence and gang activity continued to capture the headlines, minority group youths were still over-represented in every facet of the juvenile justice system, and involvement of females in gang activity and serious and violent delinquencies showed strong increases. The reductions in arrests for violent and property crimes have been attributed to the strong economy in the late 1990s, harsher dispositions for and closer supervision of serious offenders, and the institutionalization of many habitual serious offenders. However, as the economy declined in the early 2000s, serious and violent delinquency began to increase again, underlining the connection between poverty and lack of opportunities and delinquency.
The formalization of juvenile court procedures has continued and some legal scholars have questioned the wisdom of having a separate juvenile justice system. Many states have lowered the upper age of juvenile court jurisdiction so that older adolescent offenders are referred directly to adult courts. Judicial waiver (transfer of juveniles' cases to adult criminal courts), statutory exclusion (giving criminal courts original jurisdiction over certain offenses by juveniles, so that they are automatically excluded from the juvenile court), and concurrent jurisdiction (both the juvenile and criminal courts have jurisdiction, but the prosecutor has the discretion to file the case in either type of court) have resulted in the removal of many serious delinquency cases from the juvenile courts. The renewed call for removal of status offenders from juvenile court jurisdiction is a challenge to the purposes of the court, which was originally designed to intervene in and touch the lives of any youths believed to be disposed toward unacceptable or inappropriate conduct. The challenges facing today's juvenile courts, court decisions that have influenced changes in their procedures, and discussion of their future are presented in Chapters 13 and 18.
More severe dispositions for habitual, serious offenders frequently take the form of institutionalization. Treatment strategies in institutions that focus of preparing the incarcerated youths for return to the community are described in Chapter 17. Such programs as restitution, community service, and intensive probation promote greater involvement of the community in delinquency prevention and control. New programs designed for these purposes are described in Chapters 14 and 18.
Police and the courts are developing diversion programs and intensive supervision possibilities based on the "balanced approach," which gives equal consideration to protecting the community and rehabilitating offenders. The schools, which have become a focal point for meeting the needs of many children who have no other agency contacts, have developed programs to feed needy children during the school day, reach out to their families, and provide for their safety as they travel to and from school, through patrol of areas near the schools and by use of in-school police officers who present classes on drug- and alcohol-abuse prevention and avoiding sexual exploitation. Schools are also offering opportunities for teenage mothers to continue their education and peer influence groups are formed to encourage youths to stay in school and avoid gang influences.
The conditions early theorists associated with delinquency, such as poverty, crowded living conditions, and lack of educational opportunities, can still be accepted as explanations for a portion of delinquent behavior, but they have little validity in explaining middle-class delinquency. The influence of portrayals of violent and morally permissive subject matter in the mass media, violent video games, lack of supervision of young people brought on by the need for both parents to contribute to the family income or parents' desires for self-fulfillment, rootlessness and lack of extended family ties, the impersonality of large school systems, and the lack of opportunities for meaningful work for teenagers, or various combinations of these factors, have been demonstrated to be conditions that contribute to the misbehavior of certain young people. It is apparent that delinquency is still a complex phenomenon that defies easy explanations.
In this fifth edition of Juvenile Delinquency, these matters and many others related to juvenile delinquency in contemporary society were examined with the help of professionals in the juvenile justice field, including juvenile court judges, probation and aftercare officers, police officers, youth leaders, social workers, researchers, and those involved in special diversion or community treatment programs. Their candor, assistance, and encouragement helped us to develop Juvenile Delinquency's fifth edition into a book that we believe presents a picture of delinquency and the juvenile justice system as they were, as they are, and as they may exist in the future. We thank the following persons for their contributions, cooperation, and suggestions: Former Judge Saundra Robinson, Summit County (Ohio) Juvenile Court; former judge Leodis Harris of the Court of Common Pleas of Cuyahoga County (Ohio); Rod Schneider, Administrator, Multi-County Juvenile Attention System; Commander Sollie Vincent, Gang Unit, Chicago Police Department; Captain James Albrecht, New York City Police Department; Sergeant Lawrence J. Bobrowski, Chicago Police Department; Dr. Jacqueline Y. Warren, Counseling Psychologist and Family Therapist, Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Juvenile Court; Anthony Leone, former Director, Tobin Attention Center; Thomas Cerne, Probation Supervisor, Summit County Juvenile Court; Micholas DelGrosso, Director, Restitution Program, Summit Count Juvenile Court; Kristal Y. Brown; James Dunn; Annette Kratcoski; Peter Christopher Kratcoski; Leonard Kratcoski; Carrie Lavery; Heidi Kay Ott; Deborah Ricker; Lynaia Romeo; and Jacqueline Ullmer.
Our editor from Prentice Hall, Sharon Chambliss, and our project coordinator from Pine Tree Composition, Jessica Balch, provided invaluable suggestions and assistance.
Peter C. Kratcoski
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