Framing juveniles: Identity and negotiation in the construction of probation officer recommendations
AuthorClark-Miller, Jason Dean
KeywordsSociology, Criminology and Penology.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMeaning construction and its impact on the production of juvenile justice has received a great deal of attention from sociologists and criminologists. Despite an impressive body of research and a great deal of agreement on the factors associated with punishment recommendations and outcomes, few researchers have addressed the underlying process of interpretation and meaning construction that inspires the creation of court reports and recommendations. Even fewer have systematically dealt with the possible social origins of probation officer recommendations to the court. This dissertation addresses these issues by examining the processes by which members of a juvenile probation department manage their caseloads and construct their recommendations to the court. The core of the dissertation involves the application of framing perspective, currently popular among social movement researchers, to the question of probation officer decision-making. Using data derived from a two year ethnographic study of a juvenile court, I found that the forty-eight members of the probation department at West County Juvenile Court routinely negotiated and used eight juvenile frames when talking to each other and other court actors about their cases. Furthermore, I found that the frames employed by these probation officers influenced the recommendations the officers made to the court, and their actions taken in the field. My findings include a typology of the juvenile frames used by probation officers to make sense out of their cases, as well as a typology of probation officer role-identities that appear influential in frame selection. In addition, I highlight the negotiation that occurs between the officers and their peers, other court actors, and the juveniles with whom they work. I demonstrate how the negotiated order of probation serves to create and maintain juvenile frames, and influences how frames are applied. Based on my research, I present a theoretical extension of the framing perspective and offer a series of recommendations for improving probation officer training and practice.
Degree ProgramGraduate College