Framed attributions and shaped accounts: A study of dispositional process in juvenile justice

Russell L. Curtis, William A. Reese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Drawing from an actual case that was set for a revocation-of-probation hearing, and using an interactionist conception, this article analyzes how juvenile probation officers (JPOs) impute attributes, advocate dispositions, and offer justifying accounts for their recommendations. Controlling for case and context effects, it examines how these officers frame their attributions and shape the justifications of their recommendations to accomplish their dispositions. It was found that delinquent attributions, although they are negotiated with language appropriate to the ideals of individualized juvenile justice and rehabilitation, often parallel the decision-making process in the adult parole system. Although the proposed dispositions and their accompanying remedial intentions vary among the individual officers, it is demonstrated that once an officer is committed to a preferred disposition for a marginal case he or she will expend considerable and judicious effort in attempts to secure that disposition from the court. It is proposed that this individual JPO commitnent may represent the key to more successful juvenile justice intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-270
Number of pages27
JournalCriminal Justice Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Framed attributions and shaped accounts: A study of dispositional process in juvenile justice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this