SYP 4530  (Sections 4789x and 4794x)




FALL, 1999


Instructor - Charles E. Frazier




By the most common standard of measurement, 1999 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the juvenile court in the United States.  That means that juvenile delinquency, as a social and legal concept and the subject of this course, has a relatively short history.  The broad purpose of this course is to explore juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice from a sociological perspective.  Reading materials, lectures, assignments and other class activities are all intended to examine one or more of three important aspects of juvenile delinquency.  The first is the nature, volume and social distribution of juvenile crime.  A second aspect to be examined is the formal structure of juvenile justice including the formation and the reformation of laws relating to juvenile delinquency.  A third aspect of the delinquency problem to be considered focuses on the practice of juvenile justice through official agencies ranging from the police, to prosecutors, the court and a variety of other public and private agencies charged with applying juvenile law and justice policy.   In all this, an eye will be kept on the central question:  What is the social reality of juvenile delinquency today?  That is, how much delinquency is there?  What are its most common forms?  How is the rate distributed across social groups?  What is the relationship between social structural arrangements in any given society and its rate and social distribution of juvenile crime?  How did the American problem of juvenile crime get to its current state and what will it look like in the in the first decade of the next millennium?   My goal is for you to end the course with a much better understanding of the nature and causes of juvenile delinquency and also to have a better sense of the likely effects of various alternative juvenile justice reform strategies.




My office is in 3352 Turlington Hall (Phone 392-0265 (Ext. 256).  Office hours are Tuesdays 8:20 a.m. to 10:20 a.m., Thursdays 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., or by





Kathleen M. Heide.  Young Killers: The Challenge of Juvenile Homicide (ISBN 0761900632). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1998.


Fox Butterfield. All God’s Children: The Boskett Family and the American Tradition of Violence (ISBN 0380728621).  New York: Avon Books, 1995.


Barry C. Feld.  Bad Kids: Race and the Transformation of the Juvenile Court (ISBN 0380728621). New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.


Ira M. Schwartz (Editor).  Will the Juvenile Court Survive?  The ANNALS Vol. 564 / July, 1999.  This is a special issue of The ANNALS, a journal of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.




There will be three examinations, two one-hour exams covering unit materials and a comprehensive final exam.  The dates of the exams are indicated on the attached course calendar.  Students who must miss an exam may have a make-up if the instructor is notified in advance and if the reasons for missing the exam are approved.  In cases involving an emergency or other such circumstances, the instructor should be notified as soon as practicably possible.  The student should then make an appointment to discuss a make-up exam. 




There will be several in-class writing assignments.  Each will be turned in and graded.  The content of these written assignments will be incorporated in class discussions of the readings and other major foci of the course.  




Course grade evaluation will be based on a maximum of 400 possible points.  Exams all have equal weight at 100 points each.  The final 100 points will be the total possible from all the in-class written assignments.  The final course grading scale is A=91-100, B=81-90, C=71-80, D=61-70, E=0-60.




James C. Howell.  Juvenile Justice & Youth Violence.  Sage, 1997.


Cheryl L. Maxson and Malcolm W. Klein.  Responding to Troubled Youth.  Oxford University Press, 1997 (focus is on status offenders).


James C. Howell, Barry Krisberg, J. David Hawkins, and John J. Wilson.  A Sourcebook: Serious, Violent & Chronic Juvenile Offenders.  Sage, 1995.


Meda Chesney-Lind. The Female Offender. Sage, 1997.


Robert Johnson and Hans Toch. Crime and Punishment.  Roxbury Publishing Company. 1999,


Paul Cromwell (Editor).  In Their Own Words: Criminals on Crime.  Roxbury Publishing Company. 1999.


David Dawley. A Nation of Lords: The Autobiography of the Vice Lords.  (2nd Edition) Waveland Press, 1992.


Marcus Felson.  Crime and Everyday Life. Sage, 1998 (clear guide to use of routine activities theory in crime prevention).


James O. Finckenauer and Patricia W. Gavin.  Scared Straight: The Panacea Phenomenon Revisited.   Waveland Press, 1999.


Barry C. Feld.  Readings in Justice Administration.  Oxford University Press, 1999.


Piri Thomas.  Down These Mean Streets.  Vintage Books, 1974 (Copyright, 1967).


Justice Policy Institute and Northwestern School of Law, Children and Family Justice Center.  Second Chances: A New Book on Juvenile Justice Success Stories.  (This work is available on the web at 


Torbet, et al., State Responses to Serious and Violent Juvenile Crime.  1996. National Center for Juvenile Justice (This report is available on the OJJDP homepage at


Michael Tonry and Mark Moore.  Youth Violence. Criminal Justice Series #24.  University of Chicago Press. 1999.


Jerome Miller. Last One Over the Wall: The Massachusetts Experiment in Closing Reform Schools. Columbus: Ohio State Press, 1991.




August 24-26  

Defining Delinquency and Childhood.

            Read Butterfield, Chapters 1-4.

August 31 –September 2

            The Nature and Volume of American Delinquency.

            Read Butterfield, Chapters 5-7 and Heide, Part 1 and Chapters 1-2.

September 7-9

            The Social Distribution of Delinquency: Official, Self-Report, and Victimization


             Read Butterfield, Chapters 8-9 and Heide, Chapters 3-4.

September 14-16

            Focus on Violence.

            Read Butterfield, Chapter 10. Read Heide, Part 2 and Chapters 5-11.

September 21-23


            Read Butterfield, Chapter 11.  Read Heide Part 2 and Chapter 12.

September 28-30

            Theories of Delinquency.

            Read Butterfield, Chapter 12.  Read Feld, Introduction and Chapters 1-2.     

October 5-7

            Structural Strain Theory.

            Read Butterfield, Chapter 13, Chesney-Lind in The ANNALS pp. 185-202, and

Feld, Chapter 3.

October 12-14

            Social Control and Social Learning Theories.

            Read Butterfield, Chapter 14 and Feld, Chapter 4.

October 19-21

            Labeling and Routine Activities Theories.

            Read Butterfield, Chapter 15 and Feld, Chapter 5.

October 26-28

            Braithewaite’s Theoretical Sythesis.


            Read Buttefield, Chapter 16 and the Epilogue. 

November 2-4

            The Organization of American Juvenile Justice.

            Read Feld, Chapter 6, Schwartz’s Preface in The ANNALS, and Feld in The

ANNALS pp. 10-27. 

November 9-11 (No class on the 11th -- Veterans Day)

            Juvenile Justice Under Attack.

            Read Feld, Chapter 7 and Federle, Mohr, et al., and Morse, in The ANNALS

pp. 28-80.

November 16-18

            Juvenile Justice in the Future.

            Read Feld, Chapter 8 and Bazemore, Kerbs, and Schwartz, et al. in The ANNALS

            pp. 81-141.    

November 23-25 (No class on 25th –Thanksgiving Break)

            Read Feld, Epilogue. Read Lipsky in The ANNALS pp. 142-166.

November 30-December 2

            Read Frazier, et al. and Van Vleet in The ANNALS pp. 167-184 and 203-214.

December 7

(Last day of classes).


December 9-10 

Examination Reading Days.


December 16 

Final  (Section 4789x = Exam Group 16B.  Section 4794x=Exam Group 16D).