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The Juvenile Court As A People-Processing Organization: A Political Economy Perspective

Y. Hasenfeld
Published 1985 · Sociology

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The utility of a political economy perspective in explaining patterns of people processing in human service organizations is explored. The political economy framework is applied to juvenile courts and used to generate hypotheses about the organizational determinants of their input and output decisions, as signified by the proportion of cases that are judicially handled and the rate of commitment. The hypotheses are tested on data collected in a national survey of juvenile courts. The empirical results indicate that the external political economy significantly influences the court's input decisions but that the internal political economy is inadequate in explaining either the input or the output decisions. The findings suggest that the political economy perspective is mostly effective in explaining court decisions that are visible to the organizational environment.
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