No. VIII-IX (1982)

Extent of Crime Among Former Juveniles Whose Parents Were Limited in Their Parental Authority, and Who Were Under the Care of Juvenile and Civil Courts

Published 1982-10-01


  • criminality,
  • guardianship court,
  • limited parental responsibility,
  • parental authority,
  • penalty,
  • family conditions,
  • minor,
  • behavioral disorders,
  • penality,
  • extent of crime,
  • social maladjustment

How to Cite

Strzembosz, A. (1982). Extent of Crime Among Former Juveniles Whose Parents Were Limited in Their Parental Authority, and Who Were Under the Care of Juvenile and Civil Courts. Archives of Criminology, (VIII-IX), 271–290.


The reported research is a continuation of the studies on families under court’s supervision in consequence of the limitation of parental authority. The former studies were conducted on the sample of such families representative of the entire country, which consisted of 757 families with the  total of 1,436 children in whose interest protection proceedings has been instituted in 1973. While in that phase of research an attempt was made to characterize the families and the children that came within the above proceedings and to describe the action of the court and the efficiency of the measures adjudicated by the court, in the present studies the further fates have been studied of 330 boys and 252 girls - formerly under the care of the court - who were aged at least 19 on September 1, 1980 (they were aged 19 - 24, mean age being 22).

During the research, it was found that among the persons under examination - after coming up to the age of 17 (upper limit of minority) - there were 27% of men and 7% of women with criminal records (12% of men and 2% of women had been convicted at least twice). This percentage was three times higher as regards the convicted men and 8 times higher as regards the convicted women in comparison with the extent of crime measured by the number of convictions among men and women aged 21.

Among the convicted men there were as many as 49% convicted for larceny, 19% for robbery, and 13% convicted for offences against person. As many as 84% of men were convicted for offences against property only, or for these offences as well as for others. The structure of crime of the persons under scrutiny differs from that of the whole of young adult offenders (aged 17 - 20) as regards the high percentage of those convicted for larceny. In this respect it resembles the structure of crime of the juveniles formerly under care of juvenile courts in, the cases pertaining to parental rights in Warsaw, but only as regards the sons of alcoholics (also aged 22 on the average), as the sons of non-alcoholics were in a much higher percentage convicted for offences against person, characterized by a large intensity of aggressiveness. The offences of the persons under examination resemble juvenile delinquency in the eldest age groups, though the harmfulness of their offences is much greater.

50% of the convicted men had been sentenced to immediate imprisonment already in their first case, 95% - in their second case, and all of the convicted men –in  their third case.

An attempt was made to differentiate the category of the investigated sons who would be characterized by a higher extent of crime when aged over 17; however, no increase in offending was found both among children from broken homes and among those whose parents revealedconsiderable social demoralization. Even the percentage of socially demoralized mothers whose sons had criminal records when aged over 17 was only slightly higher than that of socially adjusted mothers of the convicted men. On the other hand, the men coming from towns were considerably more frequently convicted as compared with those coming from the rural areas, which seems to shake the now established opinion about the small differences between the intensity of crime in the town and the country, if we take into account the offender’s place of residence and not the place where the given offence has been committed.

In spite of the confirmation by the present study of the well known regularity that there is a higher percentage of persons convicted when aged over 17 among those who revealed early behavior disorders, and in spite of the fact that there is a correlation between the improvement in the minor’s behavior accomplished by the probation officer during his supervision and the subsequent clear record of his former probationer - no correlation was found between the way in which the supervision had been performed and the criminal records of the men when aged over 17. Such a correlation was not revealed even by comparing the most highly estimated supervision with this actually not performed at all. This proves the  predominating role of factors other than probation officer’s supervision in the process of forming social attitudes of the youth. Since even those of the probation officers, who perform their supervision reliably and efficiently, are not in approximately one half of the cases able to cause improvement of their probationer’s behavior, then the role of other factors independent of the officer’s action is immense and their further negative or favourable influence may - in course of time - wholly destroy the impact of the methods of supervision. Therefore not only the probation officer’s efforts should be supported by creating the actual possibilities for him to organize the proper educational environment for his probationer but also these social processes should be strenghtened which promote the internalization by children and youths of favourable patterns of behavior and moral standards.


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