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Police Juvenile Units Under New Juvenile Justice Legislation, Volume 7 - Implications of California's 1977 Juvenile Justice Reform Law 1981

NCJ Number
M W Klein
Date Published
This study assesses changes in the structure and function of police juvenile operations as a result of the 1977 enactment and implementation of Assembly Bill 3121, California's major juvenile justice legislation.
Interviews were conducted in 31 California police departments to determine the extent to which the application of core police priorities (case investigation and preparation for criminal prosecution) was encouraged and the extent to which the more peripheral priorities, such as prevention programs and screening and diversion activities for minor and status offenders, were reduced. Further, since the bill was believed to embody many changes in the philosophy of juvenile justice on a national scale, a second interview was undertaken in 88 police departments sampled from 24 States. Data from the California study revealed decreasing juvenile specialization and indicated that investigative priorities increased relative to prevention. Data from the national study, based on a comparison of States with and without new legislation of the California variety, generally contained the patterns noted in the California study. Evidence indicates that juvenile bureaus in police departments will continue to pull back from the emphasis on prevention and diversion, concentrating more on investigative activities. Appendixes contain both sets of interview questions. One table is included.