New Findings from Juvenile Offender Study Suggest Patterns of Criminality not Predictable
|October 2, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Drug and Alcohol, Juvenile Delinquency, Policy, Research, Youth Development||
The Pathways to Desistance study is a large-scale, longitudinal study that followed a cohort of juvenile offenders (all found guilty of a felony or serious criminal offense) from the Phoenix, Arizona and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania areas into young adulthood (up to seven years post adjudication). The principal researcher, Edward P. Mulvey, of the University of Pittsburgh, recently published a brief discussing some of the updated findings from the study. Highlights include:
- The trajectory of a youth’s future criminal activity cannot be predicted by the type of offense that brought him or her to the attention of the court.
- Institutional placement of an adjudicated juvenile does not decrease recidivism and in some cases may increase the risk of re-arrest.
- Substance abuse treatment is linked to better outcomes for youth offenders, but it may not be available or of the intensity and/or duration required.
The policy implications of these, and other, findings are discussed in the National Juvenile Justice Network’s September 2012 brief, Emerging Findings and Policy Implications from the Pathways to Desistance Study.
What (if any) impact will these findings have on justice system policies? Given the school-to-prison pipeline investigation(s), will the data on recidivism and incarceration influence a slightly less legalistic approach to maintaining order in public schools? What is it about quality substance abuse treatment that has a stronger impact on juvenile re-offending than the fear returning to a correctional institution?