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21 J. Res. Crime & Delinquency 4 (1984)

handle is hein.journals/jrcd21 and id is 1 raw text is: 



                               EDITOR'S COMMENTS


   Our  understanding  of the dynamics  by  which certain types of
research tend to be emphasized at different times is meager, at best. For
example, Martinson's  study in the early 1970s on the effectiveness of
treatment arrived at results not terribly dissimilar from those of Bailey a
decade earlier. Bailey's studies were reported in various journals and in
books, but had little effect in shaping policy on the popularity of efforts
to find  conditions under  which treatment  worked.  Martinson's
conclusions, on the other hand, were given great prominence, often
oversimplified, and cited as the basis for needed major changes in
correctional thought. Similarly, in the 1950s and 1960s much attention
was focused on prediction methodologies in the area of crime control.
By the 1970s such studies had all but faded from crime and delinquency
literature. More recently, a focus on prediction has reemerged as a basis
for classifying offenders for correctional processing, for sentencing
guidelines, and for advancing the notion of selective incapacitation.
   The lead article in this issue of the Journal of Research in Crime and
Delinquency  is doubly interesting because it discusses this intensified
interest in prediction and at the same time applies it to an area that has
also received little attention in recent years-preventing delinquency by
focusing on  specific individuals likely to commit offenses. Loeber,
Dishion, and Patterson describe a multistage procedure for identifying
youths who   are delinquent risks. Through this process the authors
indicate how the perennial problem  of the false positive (the youth
identified as potentially delinquent who  is not)  can be  reduced
considerably. There  is a clear implication that through continued
efforts, the accuracy of predictions can reach a level sufficient to warrant
their use for these purposes. The  current climate, which supports
prediction methodologies and the reemergence of the acceptability of
the role of government  intervention in preventing delinquency, will
likely spawn more studies of this kind. It will be interesting to observe
whether  indeed this article, and similar ones, will gain increasing
currency. The probabilities are high that they will.
   The second article by Osgood and Weichselbaum deals with an issue
that received considerable attention during the 1970s-juvenile diver-
sion. The aim was  to move  offenders away from  formal agencies of
social control in dealing with them. A strong theoretical underpinning
for that position was espoused by the President's Commission on Law
Enforcement  and the Administration of Justice in 1967. Subsequently a


from the SAGE Social Science Collections. All Rights Reserved.

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