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Juvenile Delinquency in the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) - A Criminological Survey

NCJ Number
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice Volume: 4 Issue: 1 Dated: (Spring 1980) Pages: 15-28
I Zeldes
Date Published
14 pages
Statistical data concerning juvenile delinquency in the USSR are examined, social and demographic characteristics of the juveniles are analyzed, and special methods of preventing and combating delinquency are described.
Violent offenses, thefts, and acts of hooliganism committed by juveniles have become so widespread in the 1970's that serious concern has been voiced by officials, teachers, and journalists. In the opinion of Soviet criminologists, juvenile delinquency in the USSR is largely the result of both emotional and intellectual immaturity, poor upbringing, and social/environmental factors and circumstances. A low level of parents' education has been identified as an important factor, together with alcoholism among adolescents themselves, and direct instigation of juvenile delinquency by adults. More importantly, however, young people in the USSR constantly encounter social injustice, the mendacity of the party propaganda machine and mass media, and the difficult problems of everyday existence in a socialist society. These factors produce negative psychological effects in the minds of young people, create feelings of insecurity, and give rise to a strong sense of protest. Soviet literature points to three motivations--general antisocial attitudes; situational, crime-generating factors; and 'infantile' motivation (distortions in the expression of the indivduals age characteristics. Soviet juvenile delinquents are generally older, male, live outside city limits, and are well-known to law enforcement and crime prevention agencies before they commit their first crime. Juveniles also commit crimes in groups. Soviet agencies to combat juvenile problems include the courts, the office of the Procurator, the police, and the Commissions for Minors' Affairs. These agencies often compare and share information and offer a wide variety of solutions. However, the short-term institutionalization of juveniles that is prefered seems inadequate, given the large numbers of recidivists developing in the first year following detainment. A total of 18 references and 19 footnotes are provided.