Sheldon Glueck, 83, a professor-emeritus of the Harvard Law School and a noted authority on juvenile delinquency, criminology and penology, died Monday at the Cambridge Hospital in Cambridge, Mass., following a heart attack.
With his wife, Eleanor Touroff Glueck, who died in 1972, Mr. Glueck wrote several pioneering studies on the causes of juvenile delinquency. They concluded that family factors, such as parental supervision or the lack of it, were more important in contributing to delinquent behavior than general social conditions such as poverty and poor neighborhoods.
The Gluecks also developed a set of "social prediction tables," which have been used with a degree of accuracy ranging up to 90 percent, to identify potential criminals while they are still young children.
Among other places, the Glueck tables have been tested in Washington. They also have been used in New York and elsewhere in the United States and in Germany and Czechoslovakia.
The Gluecks' major work included "Unravelling Juvenile Delinquency," which was published in 1950. It was based on a 10-year comparsion of 500 delinquent boys with 500 non-delinquents, all of them from families with low incomes. In 1968, they published [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] Perspective," a follow-up on their 1950 book. Together with numerous intermediate studies, the two books constitute the first effort to understand the causes of delinquency that involved a control group of nondelinquents.
The Gluecks concluded that a child's future behavior chiefly, depended on five factors: the father's discipline, the mother's supervision, the father's affection, the mother's affection, and family cohesiveness. These factors, they said, have more bearing on whether a child becomes delinquent than poverty, surroundings and even the lack of a father in the family.
On these findings, the Gluecks based their "social prediction tables." They became a useful tool in forecasting potentially delinquent behavior in children by the age of 10.
In addition to the work he did with his wife, Mr. Glueck also conducted extensive studies in the field of criminal law and its relation to mental disorders and on penology.
He was an adviser to Robert H. Jackson, the chief U.S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, and later wrote extensively on this subject.
Throughout his career he called for a higher standard of training for correctional personnel, police, judges, lawyers and others involved in the criminal justice system.
In 1963, Mr. Glueck proposed the establishment of an academic center for the study of the criminal law and the psychodynamics of crime that would encompass such fields as economics, sociology, political science biology and psychiatry. "Professionalization,"he said at that time, "means not only relevant education and training but dedication to an ideal of service beyond the pressing task of earning a living."
In 1937, in a specch in Washington he expressed similar views in blunter terms.
"Men unfitted for their jobs are hindering the progress that should have advanced with that in other fields by their incapacity to deal with delinquents," he said. "In nearly every community, the police force consists of a group of men who believe that crime prevention consists of enforcement of law by the nightstick."
Mr. Glueck was born in Warsaw, Poland, on Aug. 15, 1896. His family came to the United States when he was 6. He grew up in Milwaukee, served in the Army during World War I, and graduated from George Washington University in 1920, the year he became an American citizen. That also was the year that Mr. Glueck earned bachelor's and master's dregrees from the National University Law School here. He then went to Harvard, where he earned a doctorate in 1924.
It was while at Harvard that he met his wife. He was studying law, psycohology and sociology. She was studying education. They were married in 1922.
From 1925 to 1929, Mr. Glueck taught in Harvard's department of social ethics. In 1929, he moved to the faculty of the law school. In 1950, he was named the first Roscoe Pound Professor of Law. He was named professor-emeritus on his retirement in 1963.
Among the many awards the Gluecks received were the August Vollmer Award of the American Society of Criminology.
The Gluecks' only child, Anita Joyce Rosberg, died in 1956.
Mr. Glueck, who lived in Cambridge, Mass., is survived by a sister, Rose Golden of Washington.