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NCJ Number: 199602 Find in a Library
Title: Recidivism of Violent Youths in Juvenile and Adult Court: A Consideration of Selection Bias
Journal: Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice  Volume:1  Issue:1  Dated:January 2003  Pages:79-101
Author(s): David L. Myers
Date Published: January 2003
Page Count: 23
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined recidivism rates among juvenile offenders who had been waived to adult court compared to the recidivism among juvenile offenders who had been retained in juvenile court.
Abstract: During the 1990’s, as violent behavior among youth increased, most States passed legislation enabling violent youthful offenders to be prosecuted in adult courts and to receive adult sanctions, such as incarceration in adult prisons. After reviewing the relevant research literature, the author questions whether juveniles who have been waived to adult court experience greater levels of recidivism once they are released compared to youths who remained within the juvenile justice system. Previous research has indicated greater recidivism among the juvenile offenders waived to adult courts, but questions whether this finding is a result of selection bias; meaning that since the most violent juvenile offenders are waived to adult court, it makes sense that these serious offenders would have a higher recidivism rate. To test the research question, the author examined 494 violent youthful offenders from Pennsylvania, 79 of whom were waived to adult court while 415 were retained in the juvenile court system. A statistical control for selection bias was included as the author analyzed the likelihood, seriousness, and timing of their recidivism. The findings revealed that even with the statistical control for selection bias, the juvenile offenders waived to adult court showed higher levels of recidivism. The author suggests that this may be a criminogenic result, meaning that waiving juvenile offenders to adult court and handing out adult sanctions may actually increase the frequency and seriousness of future offending by these youths. As such, the deterrent effect thought to operate by dealing more punitively with violent youthful offenders has not been shown in the research. Instead, it seems that imposing adult sanctions on juvenile offenders only serves to increase the likelihood of continued criminal behavior over their lifetime. Tables, notes, references
Main Term(s): Effects of juvenile imprisonment; Juvenile Recidivism; Serious juvenile offenders
Index Term(s): Juvenile Corrections/Detention effectiveness; Juvenile crime control; Juvenile delinquency research; Juvenile detention; Juvenile justice policies; Juveniles in adult facilities; Pennsylvania
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