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Social and family backgrounds as an aspect of recidivism among juvenile delinquents : a compilation and review for a group of juvenile delinquents who failed to respond to programmes provided for their rehabilitation Wright, Mildred May


The subject under study is the social and family backgrounds of a group of juvenile delinquents who failed in rehabilitation in spite of services provided by the community. As a background, public concern with regard to the attitudes of professionals and the programmes provided for youthful offenders is discussed. A review is made of contrasting philosophies in relation to these offenders. Canadian programmes are shown to have evolved from both English and American systems. The detailed personal data was assembled for a sample group of boys (23), all under eighteen at the time of committal (Oakalla, November 1953). Material used included court and institutional records, social histories and case records, and summaries of other agency contacts. These were secured from the files of Oakalla Prison, the Boys Industrial School, and the Provincial Probation Branch. The study throws light on one aspect of the crucial and obstinate problem of recidivism. The ineffectiveness of the preventive and treatment programmes in reaching the ‘hard-core’ group of juvenile delinquents can be attributed at least in part to the fact that the existing programmes were not oriented to meet the needs of the emotionally disorganized individuals who were often further damaged through their experiences in treatment. Some of the implications of the study are (a) the need for early detection and diagnosis, (b) the development of diverse community and institutional programmes, (c) rational and consistent sentencing policies. It is also shown that there is a need for better coordination of services for delinquent and disturbed children.

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