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Screwing the System and Making it Work

Juvenile Justice in the No-Fault Society

Who is responsible for juvenile delinquency? Mark D. Jacobs uses ethnographic, statistical, and literary methods to uncover the many levels of disorganization in American juvenile justice. By analyzing the continuities betwen normal casework and exceptional cases, he reveals that probation officers must commonly contrive informal measures to circumvent a system which routinely obstructs the delivery of services to their clients. Jacobs defines the concept of the "no-fault society" to describe the larger context of societal disorder and interpersonal manipulation that the juvenile justice system at once reflects and exacerbates.

304 pages | 42 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1990


Law and Legal Studies: General Legal Studies

Political Science: Judicial Politics

Sociology: Criminology, Delinquency, Social Control

Table of Contents

1. Larry: "Screwing the System and Making It Work"
Part One: Institutional Gaps and Cross-Purposes as Dilemmas of Individualized Casework
2. What Makes Some Cases Special?
3. Daring the Impossible: Michael, Mary, Jerome
4. Crusading for Placement against Contentious Evasion: Rose, Harold, Henry, Joseph
5. The Litigiousness of Public Agencies
Part Two: Technology, Culture and Outcomes
6. Normal Casework
7. Erratic Organizational Support
8. Seeking Skeptical Approval
9. Disposition by Default
10. Limits of Instrumental Rationality in Casework
11. Probation Officers’ Tragic Narratives
12 Conclusion: The No-Fault Society

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