A study of juvenile delinquency in Harrisonburg, Virginia from July 1, 1951 to June 30, 1956

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute

The problem of juvenile delinquency is a matter of concern to leaders in Harrisonburg. This study was made to determine the extent and nature of the City's juvenile delinquency problem revealed through Court cases and background characteristics of the delinquents. Also, to interpret to the public the method of treatment of delinquents.

The study revealed that 5.5% of the total juvenile population was delinquent. A greater percentage of juveniles 14 years of age were delinquent than in any other age group, the percentage of delinquent boys was five times as great as delinquent girls, and a higher percentage of the colored juvenile population was delinquent than of the white.

The type offense most frequently committed was breaking and entering.

Most delinquents came from below-normal family situations. Lack of normal parental guidance was the chief factor contributing to delinquent behavior.

A significant step was taken in the treatment of juvenile delinquents when the city established a Juvenile Court. The employment of a Court Social Worker to work with delinquents was a positive step in dealing with the problem.

The method most often used for treating delinquent behavior was probation supervised by the Court Social Worker. The delinquent on probation was afforded the opportunity of professional counsel and every effort was made to help him make a socially acceptable adjustment to the community using resources available within the community.