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March 10: We Ain’t No Delinquents, We’re Misunderstood

March 10, 2013

GlueckSheldon-1944Sheldon Glueck, who with his wife Eleanor studied criminal behavior, juvenile delinquency, and the impact of incarceration, in depth and over large chunks of time, died at 83 on this date in 1980. The Gluecks did their research at Harvard Law School, including a ten-year examination of the lives of 500 deliquents and 500 non-delinquents in Boston, resulting in their 1950 book, Unraveling Juvenile Delinquency — which they followed up with fifteen more years of observation. The pair wrote twelve books over the course of a 50-year collaboration before Eleanor's death in a drowning accident in 1972. In the 1960s, their Glueck Social Prediction Chart, which was based on factors of parental supervision, discipline, and affection, and family cohesion, tested out with a prediction rate of more than 80 percent and became an important if controversial tool of screening for criminality. After the Holocaust, Sheldon Glueck was a leading advocate for the creation of an international criminal court to punish crimes against humanity.

"[R]egardless of ethnic origin, color, religion, intelligence level, residence in urban or rural areas, economic level, or even sex, the predictive cluster is equally potent, not only on American but on Japanese and French samplings." —Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck