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NCJ Number: 188972 Find in a Library
Title: Factors Involved in Decisions on Commitment to Delinquency Programs for First-time Juvenile Offenders
Journal: Justice Quarterly  Volume:18  Issue:2  Dated:June 2001  Pages:323-341
Author(s): Jamie J. Fader; Philip W. Harris; Peter R. Jones; Mary E. Poulin
Date Published: June 2001
Page Count: 19
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Data from youths in Philadelphia formed the basis of an analysis of program commitment decisions for first-time juvenile offenders and juvenile offenders with prior arrests, comparing the explanatory effect of factors traditionally included in this type of analysis with that of variables describing child and family functioning.
Abstract: The research used data from the Program Development and Evaluation System, a system of outcome evaluation that tracks youths in Philadelphia’s juvenile justice system. The participants were 1,875 first-time juvenile offenders committed to some type of delinquency treatment program during 1998-99, plus a group of youths with two or more prior arrests. Chi-squared automatic interaction detector analysis compared the relative effects of different factors on the likelihood of commitment to in-home versus out-of-home settings. The factors included sociodemographic factors; family functioning as indicated by domestic assault, parental drug abuse, and other factors; child functioning as measured by the youth’s history of drug abuse, mental health problems, or special education; situational factors in terms of the youth’s behavior since the arrest; and offense-specific factors. Results revealed that half the first-time offenders committed to programs were placed in residential settings and that the first-time offender’s history of drug abuse was the strongest predictor of a disposition to a residential placement. Results also revealed that child and family functioning were crucial factors in program decision making for first-time offenders, but were less important in decision making for juveniles with prior offenses. However, the treatment modalities of specific program commitments for first-time offenders often did not match the needs presented by the juvenile at the point of disposition. Figures, tables, and 33 references (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Juvenile sentencing
Index Term(s): Juvenile Corrections/Detention; Juvenile court judicial discretion; Juvenile first offenders; Juvenile recidivists; Pennsylvania; Sentencing factors
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