This study reviews the statutory basis of the institutional
treatment of young people in trouble and the related literature,
with particular reference to the Detention Centre. Detention
Centres grew out of a need for alternatives to short-term
imprisonment for Young Offenders. Their present statutory basis
is the Criminal Justice Act, 1960 (England and Wales) and the
Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act, 1963* They are secure
institutional establishments catering for short-term sentences
for offenders aged between 16 years and 21 years. The regime,
while it is described as reformative, still has punitive and
deterrent overtones. It consists of strict discipline and hard
work. H.M, Detention Centre, Glenochil is the only senior
Detention Centre in Scotland.
This study, involving 200 Detention Centre inmates, is
exploratory and descriptive. It looks towards the development
of an appropriate taxonomy of young offenders, utilising social,
personal, legal and psychological data to describe types.
The main findings were as follows: -
1. The population showed some sign of personal and social
disorganisation as reflected in their employment and
offence related behaviour.
2. There was a systematic relationship between offence
related behaviour and psychological characteristics,
notably emotional upset.
3. Detention Centre inmates obtained a high score on the
Introversion-Extraversion continuum, i.e. they are
4. The population approximated to Cattell's Delinquent
5. The population were highly hostile and extrapunitive
and this is taken to indicate marked psychological
or emotional upset.
6. The Interpersonal Personality Inventory did not
effectively discriminate between offenders in this
The most important finding was the relationship of psychological
upset to offence categories, with its vital implications for the
organisation of an adequate social response to the besetting problem
of delinquency. The variety of other characteristics of these boys
and the variety of taxa obtained, provide a basis for speculation and
a stimulus to further study.