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Delinquency and Justice: An Age of Crisis

NCJ Number
M Bortner
Date Published
397 pages
This book examines the role and status of adolescents in contemporary society, defines delinquency, estimates the extent and nature of delinquency, explains why young people become delinquent, and discusses the institutional and political implications of society's response to adolescents.
Chapter 1 explores the meaning of the terms justice, social control, adolescence, and delinquency in contemporary society. Chapter 2 examines the economic and legal status of young people. Chapters 3 and 4 define the juvenile justice system and how it works. An appendix to chapter 3 contains excerpts from In re Gault, a major U.S. Supreme Court case defining the rights of an accused in delinquency proceedings. Chapter 5 provides delinquency statistics and information on trends in delinquency. Chapter 6 discusses the extent and nature of adolescent drug use, with special emphasis on cocaine use among adolescents. Chapter 7 examines violent adolescents and the causes of their violent behavior. Chapters 8, 9, and 10 examine the explanations that are given for juvenile delinquency: the traditional social theories of positivism and control and the more modern interactionist and critical criminology theories. Chapter 11 discusses the policies of nonintervention, prevention, diversion, probation, and community-based treatment. Chapter 12 explores the policies of punishment and incarceration. Chapter 13 discusses the future of juvenile justice and the social control of adolescents. The author points out that the role of adolescence and the issue of adolescent justice remain controversial in contemporary society. Chapter references, index, and 563 footnotes.