Juvenile Delinquency: Concepts & Control

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9780135118665: Juvenile Delinquency: Concepts & Control

An overview of the juvenile delinquency problem, the major theories, and the processes involved in its causation, prevention, control and treatment. This fifth edition offers a multidisciplinary approach and contains updated information throughout.

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From the Publisher:

This book provides a multidisciplinary overview of the juvenile delinquency problem -- its major theories, and the process involved in its causation, prevention, control, and treatment.

From the Inside Flap:

Preface

The main purpose of the sixth edition of Juvenile Delinquency: Concepts and Control is to provide the practitioner or the student interested in working with juveniles an overview of the juvenile delinquency phenomenon and the process involved in its causation, prevention, control, and treatment. Like the previous editions, this one emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach to the problem and updates information presented in the earlier editions and includes as well new and important material related to the complex problem of juvenile delinquency.

The most popular and prevalent interdisciplinary issues, ideas, principles, and assumptions pertaining to the phenomenon are presented. The use of numerous examples facilitates the transition from complex theoretical principles to practical application.

Not only does the book provide an overview of the many variables related delinquency, it also points out the orientation, duties, responsibilities, and functions of the agencies in the juvenile justice system that deal with the juvenile delinquent. The orientation, programs, and procedures utilized by the various juvenile justice agencies are discussed to help the reader understand the processes the delinquent goes through from the initial contact with the police to the selection of a dispositional alternative. The description and discussion of the juvenile delinquency process will further facilitate the transition from theory to practice.

All of us, regardless of background or professional training, have our own theories about juvenile delinquency. Often practitioners and amateur theorists demonstrate appropriate and sound logic, but because they are unaware of popular theoretical assumptions and current programs and practices, they are unable to systematically compare their ideas with those of the "experts." This hinders the practitioner and the "amateur" from effectively replicating and refining their own most successful ideas axed practices. In other words, many practitioners and aspiring practitioners "fly by the seat of their pants."

This book provides the reader with an exposure to the thinking of the experts in the field of juvenile delinquency, the process involved in the causation of this phenomenon, and examples of the most successful and most often used programs, procedures, and techniques for handling juveniles. The main benefit to this basic approach is to illustrate how practitioners and academicians have an influential effect on the field of juvenile justice. Throughout the text, we stress the importance of evaluation research on program and policy implementation. We emphasize how practitioners and academicians can work collaboratively to an improved understanding of delinquency causation as well as prevention, control, and treatment.

The strength of the book is that it points out the complexity of the juvenile delinquency phenomenon and the necessity of understanding the many variables related to its causation, prevention, treatment, and control—variables that range all the way from a knowledge of "normal" adolescent behavior to an understanding of processing procedures in handling delinquents.

The book recognizes racial, gender, and social class diversity in the adolescent population. New theories to explain girls' lawbreaking, examples of programs for girls, and information about how they are handled by the juvenile justice system are provided throughout the book. Special attention is focused on race and class as correlates of delinquency as well as biasing influences on official reaction to illegal behavior.

The establishment of effective juvenile delinquency prevention, treatment, and control programs can be accomplished only if the many variables identified in the book are understood, assimilated, and then initiated into action.

Part I, "Introduction to the Study of Juvenile Delinquency," provides a framework for organizing the great amount of information we have about delinquency, and it reviews statistics on the delinquency problem. Chapter 1 lays the groundwork for understanding the interconnections between our beliefs about delinquency, assumptions about who the delinquents are, theories of delinquency causation, and delinquency control programs. The choice of one control program over another is often based on a combination of theories, assumptions, and beliefs. Without this recognition, it is difficult to make sense out of the complex network of programs intended to control adolescents' misbehavior.

In Chapter 2, many myths about the nature of the delinquent are challenged. Delinquency is found in all social classes. Despite newspaper and television accounts to the contrary, we are not currently besieged by extreme increases of juvenile delinquency or by large numbers of teenage gangs. Girls have become more delinquent than they formerly were, but mainly in typically "female" crimes such as shoplifting. They are not nearly as violent as boys.

In the second part of the book, "Theories of Delinquency Causation," the focus is on explanations of why adolescents break the law. Chapter 3 provides a survey of major biological and psychological explanations of delinquency. Chapter 4 provides an overview of major sociological explanations of delinquency.

In the third part of the book, "Placing Juvenile Delinquency in a Social Context," we look at various societal factors that are influential in a youth's life. Chapter 5 uses an interdisciplinary approach, drawing from the disciplines of anthropology, history, sociology, and psychology. People from these fields have drawn attention to the special needs of delinquents which stem from their status as adolescents, and the role of their adolescent status in promoting delinquent behavior. Chapter 6 focuses just on information about the influence of families on delinquency. By narrowing attention to the family, the student is directed again to consider major theories and new developments, but in more depth than with the survey approach. Additionally, the interdisciplinary approach to understanding delinquency can be emphasized. In Chapter 7 we examine other facets of an adolescent's life including what some youth experience in the school environment as well as the influence of peers on an adolescent's psychological and sociological well-being.

In Part IV, "Handling the Juvenile Delinquent," we provide the reader with a general synopsis of the juvenile justice system. In Chapter 8 we focus on the major elements of the juvenile justice system such as the police, intake diversion, and the juvenile court.

In the last section of this text, "Prevention and Control of Juvenile Delinquency," we emphasize the continuum of options available for juveniles. In Chapter 9 we focus on efforts to inhibit delinquency before it actually takes place, or deter future delinquency with less restrictive controls. Proceeding with the continuum of options available for juveniles, Chapter 10 examines various programs and treatments aimed at juveniles who are more involved in the system. In Chapter 11 we examine the various issues pertaining to the institutionalization of juveniles. We begin by first examining the increasing tendency to transfer youth from the juvenile system to the adult criminal system. We conclude the chapter by focusing on aftercare programs and treatments. Chapter 12 focuses on different types of individualized treatment programs. This chapter provides a historical perspective of what has been tried and what has been successful. Additionally, we also provide many examples of frequently used contemporary programs. In the last chapter we apply these skills to pressing problems in coordinating various parts of the juvenile justice system and in implementing key policies. We also discuss the tremendous value of empirical research, which we have stressed throughout the book. As beliefs and theories about juvenile delinquency change, you will find that your own ability to understand juvenile delinquency ensures a current and sophisticated appreciation of the field.

As with any endeavor, many people have contributed to the achievement of our goal. We would like to acknowledge some of the people who helped in completing this edition as well as earlier editions: Ray Valley, Suzanne (Pyzik) Jude, Thomas Schooley, Kathleen Williams, Bonnie Pollard, Jody Allen, Kathleen Adams, Victoria Schneider, Lila Rucker, Robin Haarr, and Mark Lanier for their research assistance; Dr. John Trojanowicz, Dr. Forrest Moss, and Sydell Spinner for their writing help; John Duhring, Steven Cline, Edward Francis, Robert Weisman, and Angie Stone of Prentice Hall for their encouragement; Dr. Christopher Sower for his inspiration; and our families for their support and endurance.

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