In recent years it has become increasingly clear that juvenile delinquency is a most important phase of the subject matter of criminology. The war and its aftermath have served to accentuate the magnitude of the problem and to reveal its significance in the maturing of unregenerated delinquents into chronic adult criminalism. These years have also seen the development of new facilities for the preventive and curative handling of the deviant youngster. Although excellent works on certain of these specialized phases of the delinquency problem are available, no recent volume brings together the relevant materials on the juvenile and the adolescent in relation to causation, court processing, and treatment. The author's purpose here is to attempt to remedy in some measure this lack: to make available to students of sociology and social work, to lawyers and laymen, an up-to-date and comprehensive analysis of the major developments and problems in dealing with the juvenile delinquent and the adolescent offender.
The point should be made, perhaps, that the legal aspects of the field are of major importance, considering that delinquency is a matter of statutory definition and court determination, yet these aspects have received far less attention in the literature than they merit. The author has endeavored to relieve this inadequacy in part by a thorough but nontechnical analysis of those legal phases of delinquency and its treatment with which the student of society and of social work should be familiar.
Throughout this volume the approach is one of sociological and legal realism. Aside from a statement of those ideals which offer some challenge as goals of action, the effort here is to picture practices as they are, not as someone may believe they should be. The author believes that, however strong may be one's sentiment toward children, the analysis of juvenile delinquency by sociologists, social workers, or lawyers should be clear sighted and unsentimental. For an understanding of delinquency or an effective method of dealing with it through social action, critical detachment will serve far better than the maudlin emotional involvement that is so easy a substitute for thinking where children are concerned.
It is impossible to express appropriate recognition here for the author's extensive and deep indebtedness to all those who have had a part in the . . .