Forensic mental health assessments of juvenile misdemeanor cases involving demoralization (status offenses) and delinquency

StatusPost-Print
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Authors
Rode, Danuta
Kabzińska, Joanna
Rode, Magdalena
Habzda-Siwek, Ewa
Boduszek, Daniel
Monograph
Monograph (alternative title)
Date
2024-03-26
Publisher
Journal title
Journal of Criminal Psychology
Issue
2
Volume
14
Pages
Pages
180-195
ISSN
2009-3829
ISSN of series
Access date
2024-07-10
Abstract PL
Abstract EN
Purpose The role of evidence-based psychological knowledge in cases of juvenile offending is essential to make appropriate decisions relating to youth who violate legal or social norms, as it carries implications for treatment, intervention and practice. Psychological expert opinions therefore need to meet high formal and methodological requirements while maintaining ethical standards. The purpose of this study is to investigate psychological expert opinions in cases of juvenile misbehavior reported to regional courts in Poland. Juvenile court proceedings concern cases of demoralization and/or delinquent offenses. Demoralization is a legal concept described in the Act of June 9, 2022 on juvenile support and resocialization. This concept was not defined; it was only described through examples of behaviors indicating demoralization. These include the following: violations of the principles of community life; evading compulsory education or schooling; use of alcohol, narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, their precursors, substitutes or new psychoactive substances; and prostitution. Design/methodology/approach To reach these goals, court records of juvenile cases in six district courts (N = 253) were gathered and analyzed. A semistructured questionnaire was used to examine the cases in which psychologists were appointed and to analyze the procedures used by these experts for assessing adolescents and their families. Findings Findings revealed that family judges appoint psychologists both in cases of “demoralization” (i.e. status offenses) and in cases of juvenile delinquency. The opinions were delivered by psychologists who were mostly members of diagnostic teams. Results indicate that such opinions generally comply with the minimal standards recommended by the Ministry of Justice, yet a few problems were observed with the determination of levels of demoralization. Originality/value The limitations of diagnostic tools used by psychologists are discussed, and recommendations for future practice are provided.
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Keywords PL
Keywords EN
Forensic mental health assessment
Juvenile delinquency
Psychological expert opinion
Expert opinion
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Except as otherwise noted, this item is licensed under the Attribution licence | Permitted use of copyrighted works
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Opiniowanie sądowo-psychologiczne w sprawach nieletnich i w sprawach z zakresu władzy rodzicielskiej
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