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COMPARISON OF ROLE INTER-RELATIONSHIPS IN TWO JUVENILE COURTS - VIENNA AND BOSTON

NCJ Number
44800
Journal
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY AND PENOLOGY Volume: 5 Issue: 4 Dated: (NOVEMBER 1977) Pages: 367-397
Author(s)
J HACKLER; J BROCKMAN; E LUCZYNSKA
Date Published
1977
Annotation
DECISIONMAKING AND INFORMATION-GATHERING PROCESSES, ROLE PERCEPTIONS AND INTERACTIONS, AND OTHER ASPECTS OF JUVENILE COURT SYSTEMS IN BOSTON, MASS., AND VIENNA, AUSTRIA, ARE COMPARED.
Abstract
THE CROSS-CULTURAL ANALYSIS IS PART OF AN EFFORT TO IDENTIFY PATTERNS OF SOCIAL BEHAVIOR IN JUVENILE COURT SYSTEMS THAT ARE UNIVERSAL, AS DISTINCT FROM THOSE THAT MAY BE UNIQUE TO A PARTICULAR AGENCY, TYPE OF BUREAUCRACY, OR CULTURAL SETTING. BOTH THE BOSTON STUDY AND THE VIENNA STUDY ASKED PROBATION OFFICERS, POLICE, JUDGES, CLERGY, SOCIAL WORKERS, SCHOOL GUIDANCE COUNSELORS, AND OTHERS DEALING WITH JUVENILE PROBLEM BEHAVIOR ABOUT THE FREQUENCY OF THEIR CONTACTS WITH EACH OTHER AND ABOUT THEIR PERCEPTIONS OF EACH OTHER'S ROLES. IN ADDITION, THE VIENNA STUDY EXPLORED VIEWS ON THE EXTENT TO WHICH OTHER ROLES HELP PROBLEM CHILDREN AND ON THE IMPORTANCE OF OTHER ROLES AS SOURCES OF INFORMATION FOR DECIDING THE GUILT AND PUNISHMENT OF A CHILD. THE STUDY DATA ARE ANALYZED IN DETAIL, AND GENERAL PATTERNS ARE IDENTIFIED. IT IS NOTED THAT THE VIENNA STUDY INVOLVED A CENTRALIZED SYSTEM, WHEREAS THE BOSTON STUDY EXAMINED SMALLER COURTS IN DIFFERENT PRECINCTS. THE DIFFERENCES IN THE TWO SYSTEMS MAY BE PRODUCTS OF STRUCTURAL RATHER THAN CULTURAL DIFFERENCES. DESPITE DIFFERENCES, HOWEVER, OUTCOMES IN THE TWO SYSTEMS ARE SIMILAR: 90 TO 95 PERCENT OF JUVENILES ENTERING THE SYSTEM ARE FOUND GUILTY AND THEN HANDLED RATHER LENIENTLY BY THE COURT. HUMANISTIC ROLES ARE CLEARLY INFLUENTIAL AND ARE RESPECTED BY THOSE PERFORMING MORE LEGALISTIC ROLES. IN BOTH SYSTEMS, THE POLICE TEND TO BELIEVE THEY SHARE OPINIONS ABOUT JUVENILES WITH OTHER ROLES, WHILE OTHER ROLES VIEW THE POLICE AS HOLDING DIFFERENT OPINIONS. THESE AND OTHER FINDINGS ARE DISCUSSED. SUPPORTING DATA ARE INCLUDED.