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Standards Relating to Noncriminal Behavior

NCJ Number
Date Published
93 pages
These juvenile justice standards deal with juvenile court jurisdiction over status offenses, juveniles in circumstances endangering safety, runaways, services for juveniles in family conflict, alternative residential placements, and emergency services for juveniles in crisis.
The standards are based in the view that the current jurisdiction of the juvenile court over status offenses should be curtailed, to be replaced by a system of voluntary referral to services provided outside the juvenile justice system. As a general principle, the standards seek to eliminate coercive official intervention in unruly child cases; however, because of the problems presented by certain kinds of cases -- notably runaways who are in circumstances of immediate jeopardy, in need of alternative living arrangements, and who need emergency medical services -- some carefully limited official intervention is preserved. In all cases of noncriminal behavior, court wardship is precluded. The standards are based in the beliefs that (1) noncriminal misbehavior cases will benefit from the immediate intensive handling recommended, in place of the piecemeal investigation, adjudication, and referral characterizing current procedures; (2) the majority of service time should be at the onset of the problem rather than after time has permitted attitudes and postures to harden between juveniles and their parents; and (3) services for juveniles manifesting antisocial noncriminal behavior will be of more benefit if not coerced. A statutory breakdown of unruly-child jurisdiction in the United States is appended. A dissenting view and a bibliography of 64 listings are also provided.

Date Published: January 1, 1982