This study was designed to clarify the types of information about juveniles and their families that are relevant for three types of juvenile court decisions: (a) the pretrial detention of juveniles; (b) their transfer for trial in criminal courts: and (c) disposition decisions after delinquency adjudication. Predominant legal standards for these decisions are described, information relevance for the decisions is defined, and why past studies have failed to clarify the information needs of juvenile court decision makers is explained. Results of a study involving a national sample of juvenile court personnel include an empirically derived domain of psychosocial and behavioral characteristics of juveniles and their families relevant for courts' interpretations of controlling legal standards; factor analysis of the domain, describing dimensions of the domain of information about juveniles and families; and an examination of the relation of these information categories to each legal standard controlling the decision areas in question. The interpretation of results may facilitate decision making by juvenile courts, evaluations by mental health professionals who assist juvenile courts, and further research by social scientists who study discretionary juvenile court decisions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Psychiatry and Mental health