Document Type



Most of the research in juvenile justice decision making has focused on outcomes, the criteria on which outcomes are based, the doctrine of parens patriae or the concept of "individualized justice." Both of these approaches lose much of the richness of organizational behavior and organizational processes to an empirical calculus that does not portray an accurate image of how juvenile justice decisions are made. These perspectives blur our vision because they conceal that decisions in juvenile court are socially produced by the varied actors and agencies in the juvenile judicial system. This report adopts a gestalt perspective of juvenile justice decision making. The gestalt perspective emphasizes that the functioning of parts is determined by the nature of the whole, and social wholes are functionally indivisible. It will demonstrate that juvenile court decisions do not hinge on one key actor or one or two key variables. Rather, they are a social product, produced by several actors involved in various locations in the adjudication and the disposition of juvenile justice.



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