A study on referrals of delinquents and status offenders in youth development centers and selected group homes in Tennessee

Forrestine White Williams, Tennessee State University

Abstract

The purpose of this self-report study was to determine if there were differences in referrals (sources and reasons) of juveniles to juvenile court based on home environment (limited to structure), age, gender, and race. Seven hypotheses were developed and tested relative to each of these variables. The hypotheses stated that there is no difference in referral rates considering these four variables.^ A total of 519 juveniles from four youth development centers and three group homes in Tennessee were participants in the study. Participants included: 434 from broken homes and 85 from intact homes; 443 ages 15 and younger and 72 ages 16-21; 456 males and 60 females; and 310 minorities and 209 non-minorities. Participants were administered a 14-item questionnaire constructed and adapted to provide a sensitive and direct measure of variables.^ Hypotheses were tested using t tests for independent and dependent variables and Chi Square, as appropriate. Test results showed (a) no statistically significant difference in the referral rate for delinquent offenses for children from intact homes compared to children from broken homes; (b) statistically significant difference in the referral rate for younger juveniles compared to older juveniles; (c) statistically significant difference in the referral rate for delinquent and/or status offenses for younger juveniles compared to older juveniles; (d) statistically significant difference in the law enforcement referral rate for minorities compared to non-minorities; (e) no statistically significant difference in the referral rate for delinquent offenses for minorities compared to non-minorities; (f) no statistically significant difference in the referral rate of females for delinquent offenses compared to the referral rate of females for status offenses; (g) statistically significant difference in the referral rate of males for delinquent offenses compared to the referral rate of males for status offenses. Chapter IV contains a detailed discussion of findings from this self-report study and compares them with findings from other self-report and official statistics studies.^ Of major concern was the repetitive adjudication rate for juveniles who reported on the number of times they have been adjudicated. This suggested that efforts to draw delinquents out of further involvement in lawbreaking and diversion of youths from the official juvenile justice system have not been very successful.^ Because juvenile delinquency is such a multi-faceted and complex problem, further research must be conducted to add to the field of existing knowledge on this subject. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Sociology, Criminology and Penology

Recommended Citation

Forrestine White Williams, "A study on referrals of delinquents and status offenders in youth development centers and selected group homes in Tennessee" (1997). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI9821875.
http://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI9821875

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