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Under the radar or under arrest: How is adolescent boys' first contact with the juvenile justice system related to future offending and arrests?

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Abstract

This study examined the extent to which being arrested during adolescence was associated with subsequent self-reported offending and court-recorded arrests. We also examined whether the way in which the justice system processed adolescents was related to the nature of these associations. The sample included 532 boys who had been arrested ("justice-system-involved") and 99 boys who had never been arrested despite engaging in similar illegal behaviors ("no-justice-system-contact"). Data included official arrest records and youths' self-reported illegal behavior at a baseline interview and a follow-up 6 months later. To reduce group differences at baseline, we calculated matching weights with 2 dozen variables and used these weights in all analyses. Results demonstrated that the groups differed in their rate of change in self-reported offending between the 2 interviews and in their likelihood of being arrested during the study period. The no-justice-system-contact group self-reported the same amount of offending at baseline and the follow up, whereas the justice-system-involved youth who received the most lenient disposition (i.e., sanction and dismiss) decreased their self-reported violent, theft or property, and total offending, and the justice-system-involved youth who received the most punitive disposition (i.e., adjudication) increased their self-reported violent offending. All justice-system-involved youth were more likely to be arrested during the study period than the no-justice-system-contact youth, even after accounting for self-reported offending. Thus, even though some justice system interventions were associated with less subsequent offending, involvement with the juvenile justice system during adolescence, in and of itself, is a significant risk factor for repeated contact with the system. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

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... When addressing the question of whether youths' perceptions of law enforcement change developmentally, it is important to ask whether there are racial/ethnic differences in any age trends (see Del Toro et al., 2019). Youth of color, predominantly Black and Latinx youth, generally report more negative perceptions of law enforcement than do White youth (see Fine et al., 2019). Yet it is unknown at what ages such racial/ethnic differences emerge because few studies have tracked changes in perceptions of police legitimacy across development (Fagan et al., 2006;Fine & Cauffman, 2015;McLean et al., 2019;Piquero et al., 2016). ...
... Perhaps the most salient finding in the literature, however, is that there appears to be stratification by race and ethnicity: Black youth typically view the justice system and its officials the most poorly, followed by Latinx youth and then White youth (see Weitzer & Tuch, 2006;Weitzer, 2014). Considering the racial/ethnic differences in justice system contact, including greater community monitoring, disproportionately high justice system involvement, harsher sanctions, and more unfair and unjust treatment (Cochran & Mears, 2015), it is perhaps unsurprising that youth of color generally report more negative perceptions of police legitimacy and the justice system than do White youth (see Fine et al., 2019;Hagan et al., 2005;Peck, 2015). However, studies do not consistently find that Latinx youth perceive the justice system more positively than Black youth, thus more research is necessary (Peck, 2015). ...
... For instance, research suggests those experiencing poverty may report poor perceptions of police often because they may experience poorer policing quality (Gau et al., 2012;Gau & Brunson, 2010). In light of evidence that youths' views of police may be changing in recent years (see Fine et al., 2019), the models included youths' age at baseline to account for potential cohort effects. Further, considering the negative associations between crime involvement and perceptions of police legitimacy in the literature (Trinkner et al., 2019a;Walters & Bolger, 2018), we used three methods of accounting for crime involvement: a dichotomous indicator of whether the youth had a violent index/committing offense, self-reported criminal behavior, and official records of rearrests. ...
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Objective: Although researchers, policymakers, and practitioners recognize the importance of the public's perceptions of police, few studies have examined developmental trends in adolescents and young adults' views of police. Hypotheses: Hypothesis 1: Perceptions of police legitimacy would exhibit a U-shaped curve, declining in adolescence before improving in young adulthood. Hypothesis 2: At all ages, Black youth would report more negative perceptions of police legitimacy than Latino youth, who would report more negative perceptions than White youth. Hypothesis 3: Perceptions of police bias would be consistently associated with worse perceptions of police legitimacy. Method: Utilizing longitudinal data from the Crossroads Study, this study examined within-person trends in males' perceptions of police legitimacy from ages 13 to 22, as well as whether perceptions of police bias were associated with perceptions of police legitimacy. Results: Perceptions of police legitimacy followed a U-shaped curve that declined during adolescence, reached its lowest point around age 18, and improved during the transition to young adulthood. Compared with White youth, Latino and Black youth had shallower curves in perceptions of police legitimacy that exhibited less improvement during the transition to adulthood. Further, perceptions of police bias were consistently associated with more negative perceptions of police legitimacy across races and ages. Conclusions: While perceptions of police legitimacy may decline during adolescence before improving during the transition to adulthood, perceptions of police bias are consistently negatively related to youth and young adults' perceptions of police legitimacy. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... Given that we find minority youth at a greater risk of having cases undergo formal processing regardless of crime severity, subjective case assignment practices potentially hinging on racial biases put minority youth at greater risk of negative life outcomes. Youth with formally processed cases display worse outcomes, such that they are more likely to reoffend (Petrosino, Turpin-Petrosino, & Guckenburg, 2010), reoffend more violently (Beardslee et al., 2019), have difficulty in school (Hjalmarsson, 2008;Sweeten, 2006), and face a greater barrier to employment later in life (Apel & Sweeten, 2010). Formal processing relates to increased self-reported offending and higher rearrest rates even after accounting for a child's environment, suggesting a criminogenic effect of formal processing (Robertson, 2018). ...
... Black youth were more likely to be rearrested relative to White youth, despite no differences in self-reported offenses prior to rearrest. Experiences with the juvenile justice system, especially at the time of first contact (Fine et al., 2017), relate to increased risk for future offending as well as increased likelihood of rearrest (Beardslee et al., 2019). A longitudinal study investigating the impact of juvenile justice system contact among low-income youth demonstrated that more interactions with law enforcement related to a seven times greater likelihood of committing crimes as an adult (Gatti, Tremblay, & Vitaro, 2009). ...
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Minority youth are disproportionately represented in the juvenile justice system. Examining how racial disparities relate to biased entry into and continued involvement with the system, while accounting for past and current offending, can provide context about the mechanisms behind overrepresentation. 1,216 adolescents were examined after first arrest to explore associations between race and history of self‐reported offending, likelihood of formal processing, and likelihood of rearrest. Black youth committed fewer offenses prior to arrest than White youth, Black and Latino youth were more likely to be formally processed, and Black youth were most likely to be rearrested (even controlling for postbaseline offending), highlighting that minority youth are overrepresented in the juvenile justice system despite similar or lower levels of criminal behavior.
... We are grateful to the many individuals responsible for the data collection and preparation. This project is based on analysis of data collected as part of the Crossroads Study, a longitudinal study that was developed for multiple projects (e.g., Beardslee et al., 2019;Fine et al., 2017). None of the analyses in the current article appear in other publications. ...
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A popular model of legal socialization contends that interactions with authority figures impact the internalization of pro-social values and beliefs, including authority legitimacy. Simultaneously, subcultural theories, including the code of the street, emphasize that negative contextual and experiential factors promote subcultural beliefs. The current study examines whether legal socialization processes are associated with the development of subcultural beliefs. Using longitudinal data from approximately 1,200 adolescent male offenders, we examined whether social experiences and contextual characteristics influence the development of individual beliefs in the code of the street through police legitimacy and legal cynicism. Consistent with theoretical expectations, the effects of deleterious neighborhood characteristics and negative interactions with authority figures were associated with beliefs in the code of the street through diminished police legitimacy and higher levels of cynicism toward the law. These findings provide evidence of the relevance of legal socialization processes for the development of subcultural norms.
... Participants were 1,216 male youth from the Crossroads Study (see Cauffman et al., 2021;Beardslee et al., 2019). Youth between the ages of 13 and 17 years of age (Mage = 15.29) were eligible if they had recently been arrested for the first time for low-to-moderate offenses (e.g., vandalism: 17.5%, theft: 16.7%, marijuana possession: 14.8%). ...
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The literature on perceptions of police is growing, yet the enthusiasm is outpacing methodological rigor. This study: 1) examined the factor structure of items assessing procedural justice and legitimacy; 2) tested whether the factors were uniquely associated with youth self-reported offending (SRO); and 3) identified whether effects on subsequent SRO operated through legitimacy. Using data derived from the 1,216 youth in the Crossroads Study, as well as supplemental models with Pathways to Desistance data, factor analyses established a factor structure, negative binomial regressions examined associations with SRO, and indirect effects analysis within a structural equation model framework identified whether associations on SRO operated through legitimacy. A five-factor solution emerged: Voice, Neutrality/Impartiality, Distributive Justice/Bias, Respect, and Legitimacy. In the adjusted model, only Distributive Justice/Bias and Legitimacy were directly associated with concurrent SRO. However, all procedural justice scales had indirect effects on subsequent offending through legitimacy. Implications for methodology and procedural justice theory are discussed.
... The downstream effects of juvenile arrest have received a considerable amount of attention. Research has linked juvenile arrests with numerous negative outcomes, including future offending behavior (Beardslee et al., 2019;Liberman et al., 2014;Mowen et al., 2018;Wiley & Esbensen, 2016; but see Huizinga et al., 2003), poor mental health (Sugie & Turney, 2017), and a wide variety of other deleterious downstream effects (e.g., Lopes et al., 2012;Makarios et al., 2017;Pratt et al., 2016). For example, Mowen et al. (2018) found that even after controlling for delinquency levels at baseline, juveniles who were arrested had a significant increase in offending behavior compared to juveniles who were never arrested. ...
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In recent years, sleep duration has received increased scrutiny with respect to criminologically relevant outcomes. No attention, however, has been given to the possible relationship between sleep duration and the likelihood of arrest. Given the negative downstream effects that arrest may have on adolescents, this is an important relationship to investigate. To this end, the current study uses data from the 2018 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey (N = 49,360), and the results indicate that severe sleep deficiencies are positively associated with self-reported arrest, whereas minor deficiencies and excess sleep are not. Discussion focuses on the implications and limitations of these findings as well as a call for better integration of health behaviors into criminological analyses.
... Propensity score matching can be used to reduce potential bias from otherwise unobserved group differences (i.e., confounding) in nonexperimental studies, thereby providing more precise estimates of an independent variable's effects (D'Agostino, 1998). Researchers regularly use this strategy for matching and comparing youth with and without justice involvement (e.g., Beardslee et al., 2019;Kirk & Sampson, 2013;Ward et al., 2014). In the current study, we used an R program that matched cases based on a 1:1 nearest neighbor ratio (Ho et al., 2007;R Core Team, 2019). ...
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Objectives: Created to combat the school-to-prison pipeline, the Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program offers voluntary community-based services to eligible youth accused of minor school-based offeses in lieu of arrest. This study evaluated program effectiveness in accomplishing goals related to reductions in school-based arrests, serious behavioral incidents, and recidivism. Hypotheses: We expected the annual number of school-based arrests in Philadelphia schools to decrease over the program's first 5 years and predicted that the annual number of serious behavioral incidents would not increase. Further, we expected that diverted youth-compared to youth arrested in schools the year before Diversion Program implementation-would have significantly lower rates of recidivism arrests in the 2 years following their school-based incidents. Method: Using a quasi-experimental design, we examined data from 2,302 public school students (67.0% male; 76.1% Black; age range: 10-22 years) who were either diverted from arrest through the Diversion Program or arrested in Philadelphia schools in the year prior to Diversion Program implementation. We compared rate of recidivism arrest, number of arrests, and time to arrest between diverted and arrested youth. We also used district-wide descriptive statistics to examine 5-year trends in school-based arrests and serious behavioral incidents. Results: Since program implementation, the annual number of school-based arrests in Philadelphia has declined by 84% and the number of serious behavioral incidents has declined by 34%. Diverted youth demonstrated less recidivism than arrested youth in the 2 years following their initial incident; however, after propensity score matching, we no longer observed significant differences. Conclusions: Findings indicate that a prearrest diversion program can safely reduce school-based arrests and suggest a need for future research regarding the role of demographic and incident-related characteristics in recidivism outcomes. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... The purpose of Crossroads is to examine the impact of juvenile court versus non-court processing on youth. To isolate this impact, the Crossroads Study strategically used eligibility criteria that included youth who had been arrested for the first time for a specific range of low-to-moderate offenses that had similar probabilities of being processed formally through the court or informally (see Beardslee et al., 2019). While youth in the Crossroads study came from three locales (Pennsylvania; Louisiana; and southern California), only data from the southern JUVENILE SUPERVISION 13 California site were used (N = 532) for this study because this was the only jurisdiction for which we had access to complete records of the conditions the youth received and supervisory conditions often differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. ...
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A growing literature suggests that juvenile arrests perpetuate offending and increase the likelihood of future arrests. The effect on subsequent arrests is generally regarded as a product of the perpetuation of criminal offending. However, increased rearrest also may reflect differential law enforcement behavior. Using longitudinal data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN) together with official arrest records, the current study estimates the effects of first arrests on both reoffending and rearrest. Propensity score methods were used to control differences between arrestees and nonarrestees and to minimize selection bias. Among 1,249 PHDCN youths, 58 individuals were first arrested during the study period; 43 of these arrestees were successfully matched to 126 control cases that were equivalent on a broad set of individual, family, peer, and neighborhood factors. We find that first arrests increased the likelihood of both subsequent offending and subsequent arrest, through separate processes. The effects on rearrest are substantially greater and are largely independent of the effects on reoffending, which suggests that labels trigger “secondary sanctioning” processes distinct from secondary deviance processes. Attempts to ameliorate deleterious labeling effects should include efforts to dampen their escalating punitive effects on societal responses.
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Inevitably, there are a great number of methodological challenges and limitations to estimating the extent of human trafficking, which are largely due to definitional issues and the hidden nature of the trafficked population. To date, most national and global estimates of the problem have been discredited for using flawed, nontransparent, or nonexistent research methods; however, researchers have previously suggested that methodologies from public health, including those used to estimate hidden and transient populations, might also be useful to estimate the trafficked population. Specifically, research design, sampling strategies, and measures commonly used to estimate hidden populations in public-health research may hold promise for future human-trafficking studies, reducing bias and resulting in more narrow and precise range estimates of victims. This article presents examples of studies using public-health research methods to estimate various hidden and stigmatized populations (e.g., injection drug-users, homeless and runaway youth) and proposes a set of strategies that might be considered for future prevalence studies on human trafficking. Recent prevalence studies on human trafficking that have successfully implemented public-health research methods, such as Respondent-Driven Sampling and Venue-Based Sampling, are also discussed.
Article
Background: There is increasing recognition of the role of palliative care (PC) in health care delivery, but priorities for state and federal policy to support PC are unclear and have sometimes engendered controversy. We canvassed experts to shed light on general recommendations for improving PC. Objective: The study objective was to identify challenges to and potential solutions for promoting, adopting, and implementing policies that would support or expand high-quality PC. Methods: Semistructured telephone interviews were used to solicit challenges to and potential solutions for promoting, adopting, and implementing policies that would support or expand high-quality PC. Interviews were analyzed using qualitative methods. The subjects were a purposive sample of 22 professional state and federal-level advocates who work in the field of aging and/or PC. Results: Respondents identified four central challenges to advancing PC policies: (1) knowledge about PC in the health care setting, (2) cultural beliefs about PC, (3) payment/reimbursement for PC services, and (4) public understanding of PC. Of the wide range of solutions proposed by respondents, we present the eight most frequently discussed solutions to these challenges targeted towards policymakers, health care professionals, research, and the general public. Respondents' understanding of the relationships between problems and solutions revealed many dependencies and interconnectedness. Conclusions: A qualitative approach of querying experts identified multiple significant challenges to improving and expanding PC, most of which are acknowledged in existing consensus statements. Proposed solutions were more numerous and diffuse than descriptions of the problems, signaling the need for further consensus building around actionable policy, and better understanding of how to advance a PC policy agenda.
Article
This study examined three orientations toward the relation between peer approval and global self-worth among young adolescents: (a) Self-worth is based upon peer approval of the self, a looking glass self-orientation; (b) self-worth is viewed as preceding approval from others; and (c) no connection is reported between self-worth and peer approval. A number of liabilities of a looking glass self-orientation were hypothesized and supported by the findings. Participants basing their self-worth on peer approval reported the greatest preoccupation with peer approval, they were most likely to be distracted from their schoolwork by peers (according to teachers' reports), they perceived the greatest fluctuations in both classmate approval and their self-worth, and they reported lower levels of classmate approval (confirmed by teachers) and self-worth, compared to those reporting that self-worth precedes approval. Findings were discussed in terms of the need for a model that will elucidate the precursors of these three orientations and their correlates.
Article
Though many studies have examined racial disproportionality in arrest and sentencing, few have examined disparities once initial sentencing has been completed. We examined racial disparities in responses to juveniles who violate the conditions of a probation sentence. Across 2 sites with diverse ethnic and racial compositions and sentencing regimes, we tested whether probation officers monitored youth differently according to their race or ethnicity, whether judges had differential responses to probation violations for youths of different racial or ethnic groups, and whether a jurisdictional context driven by sentencing guidelines responds differently to violations relative to one with greater flexibility. Although we find some regional differences, no systematic pattern of discrimination toward one particular racial or ethnic group is documented. Finally, our data demonstrate that the most common juvenile justice system response to probation violations in both sites was overwhelmingly punitive, and not treatment or otherwise oriented.
Article
It is shown how, in regular parametric problems, the first-order term is removed from the asymptotic bias of maximum likelihood estimates by a suitable modification of the score function. In exponential families with canonical parameterization the effect is to penalize the likelihood by the Jeffreys invariant prior. In binomial logistic models, Poisson log linear models and certain other generalized linear models, the Jeffreys prior penalty function can be imposed in standard regression software using a scheme of iterative adjustments to the data.
Article
Criminological research and theory generally proceed with the orientation, if not the assumption, that delinquency is the result of some series of events common to all delinquents. While some attention has been given to the concepts of typologies, multiple pathways, and different developmental sequences leading to different outcomes, rarely have these concepts been pursued empirically. This paper uses a typological approach to make a preliminary examination of the existence of multiple paths leading to delinquency. Data from the first two annual surveys of the Denver Youth Survey provide the basis for the analyses. The results support the notion that there is typological diversity in the backgrounds of youth who become delinquent, a diversity which, perhaps, should not be ignored.
Book
This explanation of crime and deviance over the life course is based on the re-analysis of a classic set of data: Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck's mid-century study of 500 delinquents and 500 non-delinquents from childhood to adulthood. More than five years ago, Robert Sampson and John Laub dusted off 60 cartons of the Gluecks' data that had been stored in the basement of the Harvard Law School and undertook a lengthy process of recoding, computerizing, and reanalyzing it. On the basis of their findings, Sampson and Laub developed a theory of informal social control over the life course which integrates three ideas. First, social bonds to family and school inhibit delinquency in childhood and adolescence. Second, there is continuity in antisocial and deviant behaviour from childhood through adulthood across various dimensions, such as crime, alcohol abuse, divorce and unemployment. And finally, despite these continuities, attachment to the labour force and cohesive marriage sharply mitigate criminal activities. Sampson and Laub thus acknowledge the importance of childhood behaviours and individual differences, but reject the implication that adult social factors have little relevance. They seek to account for both stability and change in crime and deviance throughout the life course. "Crime in the making" challenges several major ideas found in contemporary theory and aims to provide an important new foundation for rethinking criminal justice policy.
Article
This study examines the impact of legal sanctions on delinquency and youths' status achievement. Theories relating to formal social control and status achievement, including deterrence, labeling, and the age-graded life course perspective, are evaluated. A structural equation model is used to test the impact of legal sanctions on delinquency and status achievement. This study finds that legal sanctions decrease the likelihood of high status achievement by increasing youths' involvement in delinquent behavior. It demonstrates the need for integrating labeling theories and the life course perspective into research on status attainment.
Article
We compared measures of self-reported arrests and official arrests for 676 young adults with a history of child abuse and/or neglect and 520 nonabused and nonneglected controls matched on age, sex, race, and approximate family social class. Findings reveal considerable concurrent validity between the two sources overall. But there is also evidence of differences by gender, race/ethnicity, age at time of arrest, conviction status, and type of offense. Abused and neglected subjects did not appear to differ from the control group in the extent of underreporting of known offenses, however, the groups did differ in the degree of “positive bias”—offenses not found in arrest records. Abused/neglected subjects self-reported proportionately more offenses not known to police compared to controls. This result suggests that findings from previous studies on the relationship between childhood victimization and later criminality, as measured by arrests, may have underestimated the magnitude of this relationship.
Article
Schools below the college level traditionally have been preoccupied with only one outcome of education: growth in measurable cognitive skills. While there is at present a growing recognition of the school's actual and potential role in promoting personal and social growth, a convincing model of nonacademic objectives is lacking, as is a tool for assessing children's progress toward nonacademic objectives. To this end, the authors construct a model of psychosocial maturity which specifies measurable attitudes and dispositions. The model of psychosocial maturity integrates sociological and psychological views of the person; that is, it takes into account the requirements of societies as well as the healthy development of individuals. The model outlines three general dimensions of maturity which are likely to be relevant in all societies. These are (1) the capacity to function adequately on one's own, (2) the capacity to interact adequately with others, and (3) the capacity to contribute to social cohesion. Nine attributes judged pertinent to these capacities in this society are then defined. The final sections of the paper discuss problems in the measurement of psychosocial maturity, describe the form of an instrument presently being devised, and suggest research uses of the instrument.
Article
Much debate has taken place regarding the merits of aggressive policing strategies such as “stop, question, and frisk.” Labeling theory suggests that police contact may actually increase delinquency because youth who are stopped or arrested are excluded from conventional opportunities, adopt a deviant identity, and spend time with delinquent peers. But, few studies have examined the mechanisms through which police contact potentially enhances offending. The current study uses four waves of longitudinal data collected from middle-school students (N = 2,127) in seven cities to examine the deviance amplification process. Outcomes are compared for youth with no police contact, those who were stopped by police, and those who were arrested. We use propensity score matching to control for preexisting differences among the three groups. Our findings indicate that compared with those with no contact, youth who are stopped or arrested report higher levels of future delinquency and that social bonds, deviant identity formation, and delinquent peers partially mediate the relationship between police contact and later offending. These findings suggest that programs targeted at reducing the negative consequences of police contact (i.e., poor academic achievement, deviant identity formation, and delinquent peer associations) might reduce the occurrence of secondary deviance.
Article
In the psychological tradition, desistance from antisocial behavior is viewed as the product of psychosocial maturation, including increases in the ability to control impulses, consider the implications of one's actions on others, delay gratification in the service of longer term goals, and resist the influences of peers. The present study investigates how individual variability in the development of psychosocial maturity is associated with desistance from antisocial behavior in a sample of 1,088 serious juvenile offenders followed from adolescence to early adulthood (ages 14-25). We find that psychosocial maturity continues to develop to the midtwenties and that different developmental patterns of maturation are found among those who desist and those who persist in antisocial behavior. Compared to individuals who desisted from antisocial behavior, youths who persisted exhibited diminished development of psychosocial maturity. Moreover, earlier desistance compared to later desistance is linked to greater psychosocial maturity, suggesting that there is an association between desistance from antisocial behavior and normative increases in psychosocial maturity.
Article
This study uses a life course framework to investigate how police contacts may serve as a potential turning point in a violent crime trajectory. Drawing on the central ideas from deterrence and labeling theories, we determine whether individuals on different violent offending trajectories increase or decrease their offending following a police contact. Analyzing nine waves of data from the Rochester Youth Development Study, an integrated propensity score matching and latent class growth model was used. First, three violent trajectory groups emerged including high offenders, non-offenders, and low offenders. Second, after accounting for selection bias using propensity score matching procedures, experiencing a police contact increased the likelihood of future violent offending for the entire sample and for those who were on a low violent-offending trajectory specifically. These findings are interpreted as partial support for labeling theory. Limitations of the study and directions for future research are discussed.
Article
Objective: This paper reviews a century of research on creating theoretically meaningful and empirically useful scales of criminal offending and illustrates their strengths and weaknesses. Methods: The history of scaling criminal offending is traced in a detailed literature review focusing on the issues of seriousness, unidimensionality, frequency, and additivity of offending. Modern practice in scaling criminal offending is measured using a survey of 130 articles published in five leading criminology journals over a two-year period that included a scale of individual offending as either an independent or dependent variable. Six scaling methods commonly used in contemporary criminological research are demonstrated and assessed using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979: dichotomous, frequency, weighted frequency, variety, summed category, and item response theory ‘theta’. Results: The discipline of criminology has seen numerous scaling techniques introduced and forgotten. While no clearly superior method dominates the field today, the most commonly used scaling techniques are dichotomous and frequency scales, both of which are fraught with methodological pitfalls including sensitivity to the least serious offenses. Conclusions: Variety scales are the preferred criminal offending scale because they are relatively easy to construct, possess high reliability and validity, and are not compromised by high frequency non-serious crime types.
Article
One of the few facts agreed on in criminology is the age distribution of crime. This fact has been used to criticize social theories of crime causation, to provide the foundation for other theories, to justify recent emphases on career criminals, and to support claims of superiority for longitudinal designs in criminological research. In the present paper, we argue that the age distribution of crime is sufficiently invariant over a broad range of social conditions that these uses of the age distribution are not justified by available evidence.
Article
This study tested a neighborhood-level approach to what often is treated as a purely familial or within-household phenomenon-the infonmal social control of children. The data analyzed were drawn from a new, multilevel assessment of 80 neighborhoods in Chicago. The results showed that, first, informal social control can be measured reliably at the neighborhood level. Second, three dimensions of neighborhood structure-concentrated poverty, ethnicity/immigration, and residential stability-were found to explain significant amounts of variation in child social control. Third, informal social control mediated 50% of the effect of residential stability on rates of adolescent delinquency. Even afteradjustingforprior levels of crime in the neighborhood, informal social control emerged as a significant inhibitor of adolescent delinquency. The collective social control of children is an important construct that should be added to theoretical accounts and research projects that stress social regulation in families.
Article
The use of propensity scores to control for pretreatment imbalances on observed variables in non-randomized or observational studies examining the causal effects of treatments or interventions has become widespread over the past decade. For settings with two conditions of interest such as a treatment and a control, inverse probability of treatment weighted estimation with propensity scores estimated via boosted models has been shown in simulation studies to yield causal effect estimates with desirable properties. There are tools (e.g., the twang package in R) and guidance for implementing this method with two treatments. However, there is not such guidance for analyses of three or more treatments. The goals of this paper are twofold: (1) to provide step-by-step guidance for researchers who want to implement propensity score weighting for multiple treatments and (2) to propose the use of generalized boosted models (GBM) for estimation of the necessary propensity score weights. We define the causal quantities that may be of interest to studies of multiple treatments and derive weighted estimators of those quantities. We present a detailed plan for using GBM to estimate propensity scores and using those scores to estimate weights and causal effects. We also provide tools for assessing balance and overlap of pretreatment variables among treatment groups in the context of multiple treatments. A case study examining the effects of three treatment programs for adolescent substance abuse demonstrates the methods. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
This report presents comprehensive information on juvenile crime, violence, and victimization and on the juvenile justice system. This report brings together the latest available statistics from a variety of sources and includes numerous tables, graphs, and maps, accompanied by analyses in clear, nontechnical language. The report offers Congress, state legislators and other state and local policymakers, professors and teachers, juvenile justice professionals, and concerned citizens empirically based answers to frequently asked questions about the nature of juvenile crime and victimization and about the justice system's response. Citing the FBI and other data sources, the Report demonstrates that the rate of juvenile violent crime arrests has consistently decreased since 1994, falling to a level not seen since at least the 1970s. However, during this period of overall decline in juvenile violence, the female proportion of juvenile violent crime arrests has increased (especially for the crime of assault), marking an important change in the types of youth entering the juvenile justice system and in their programming needs. The report also describes when and where juvenile violent crime occurs, focusing attention on the critical afterschool hours. Statistics presented throughout the report find that racial disparity in the juvenile justice system is declining. The report also presents new findings from OJJDP's national Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement. In sum, this report offers a clear view of juvenile crime and the justice system's response at the beginning of the 21st century.
Article
Background: The juvenile justice system’s interventions are expected to help reduce recidivism. However, previous studies suggest that official processing in juvenile court fails to reduce adolescents’ criminal behavior in the following year. Longer term effects have not yet been investigated with a rigorous method. This study used propensity score matching to assess the impact of juvenile court processing into young adulthood. Method: Participants were part of a prospective longitudinal study of 1,037 boys from low- socioeconomic areas of Montreal, followed from ages 6–25 years. During their adolescence, 176 participants were processed in juvenile court, whereas 225 were arrested, but not sent to court. Propensity score matching was used to balance the group of participants exposed to juvenile court and the unexposed comparison group on 14 preadolescent child, family and peer characteristics. The two groups were compared on their official adult criminal outcomes. Results: The risk of conviction for an adult offence was 50.0% for court-processed participants compared with 24.3% for their matched counterparts, OR = 3.13, 95% CI = 1.80–5.44. Court-processed participants committed an average of 0.39 violent crimes, compared with 0.15 for their matched counterparts; Poisson model IRR = 2.60, 95% CI = 1.39–4.87. They also committed an average of 2.38 nonviolent crimes, compared to 1.30 for their matched counterparts, IRR = 1.87, 95% CI = 1.19–2.93. Conclusions: Rather than decreasing recidivism, juvenile court intervention increased both violent and nonviolent future crimes. Along with previous studies, this study highlights a pressing need for more research and knowledge transfer about effective interventions to reduce recidivism among youths who commit crime.
Article
Most knowledge about delinquency careers is derived from official records. The main aim of this paper is to compare conclusions about delinquency careers derived from court referrals with conclusions derived from self-reports. Data are analyzed from the Seattle Social Development Project, which is a prospective longitudinal survey of 808 youths. Annual court and self-report data were available from age 11 to age 17 for eight offenses. The prevalence of offending increased with age, in both court referrals and self-reports. There was a sharp increase in the prevalence of court referrals between ages 12 and 13, probably because of the reluctance of the juvenile justice system to deal with very young offenders. The individual offending frequency increased with age in self-reports, but it stayed constant in court referrals, probably because of limitations on the annual number of referrals per offender. There was significant continuity in offending in both court referrals and self-reports, but continuity was greater in court referrals. The concentration of offending (and the importance of chronic offenders) was greater in self-reports. An early age of onset predicted a large number of offenses in both self-reports and court referrals. However, an early onset predicted a high rate of offending in court referrals but not in self-reports, possibly because very young offenders who were referred to court were an extreme group. About 37% of offenders and 3% of offenses led to a court referral. The more frequent offenders were less likely to be referred to court after each offense, but most of them were referred to court sooner or later. There was a sharp increase between ages 12 and 13 in the probability of an offender and an offense leading to a court referral. It is concluded that criminal career research based on self-reports sometimes yields different conclusions compared with research based on official records.
Article
This article examines the extent to which gang membership, race, and social class affect a youth's chances of being arrested, independent of their self-reported delinquent behavior. We couple the concepts of group hazard and master status to frame our theoretical predictions. Using data from the Seattle Youth Study (Hindelang, Hirschi, and Weis 1981), we nd that the odds of being arrested are roughly similar for gang and nongang members, controlling for the nature and level of self-reported delinquency. While being a gang member does not pose a group hazard to being arrested, a youth's master status based on race and social class is associated with arrest risk. Both being black and lower class increases a youth's odds of being arrested, independent of delinquency. Neither race nor class effects can be accounted for by the frequency with which youth hang out with their best friends. We propose several recommendations for reducing race and class proling.
Article
Three theoretical models of the interrelations among associations with delinquent peers, delinquent beliefs, and delinquent behavior are examined. The socialization model views delinquent peers and beliefs as causally prior to delinquent behavior, whereas the selection model hypothesizes that associations with delinquent peers and delinquent beliefs are a result of delinquent behavior. The interactional model combines aspects of both the socialization and the selection models, positing that these variables have bidirectional causal influences on one another over time. Data to test for reciprocal causality are drawn from three waves of the Rochester Youth Development Study. Results suggest that simple unidirectional models are inadequate. Associating with delinquent peers leads to increases in delinquency via the reinforcing environment of the peer network. Engaging in delinquency, in turn, leads to increases in associations with delinquent peers. Finally, delinquent beliefs exert lagged effects on peers and behavior, which tend in turn to “harden” the formation of delinquent beliefs.
Article
This paper argues that the increasing dominance in contemporary criminology of the longitudinal or cohort study is not justified on methodological grounds, that this research design has taken criminological theory in unproductive directions, has produced illusory substantive findings, and has promoted policy conclusions of doubtful utility. In addition, it is noted that longitudinal research is very expensive and therefore has high opportunity costs, costs that have not been properly evaluated. The positive thesis is that many of the apparent benefits of longitudinal research can be obtained by carefully designed and reasonably conceptualized cross-sectional studies, at substantially reduced cost.
Article
This article reviews empirical and theoretical contributions to a multidisciplinary understanding of peer influence processes in adolescence over the past decade. Five themes of peer influence research from this decade were identified, including a broadening of the range of behaviors for which peer influence occurs, distinguishing the sources of influence, probing the conditions under which influence is amplified/attenuated (moderators), testing theoretically based models of peer influence processes (mechanisms), and preliminary exploration of behavioral neuroscience perspectives on peer influence. This review highlights advances in each of these areas, underscores gaps in current knowledge of peer influence processes, and outlines important challenges for future research.
Article
While there is considerable evidence that blacks experience school in qualitatively distinct ways from whites, there has been a general failure to examine racial variation in the impact of school variables on juvenile misconduct. The purpose of this research is to describe the manner in which school bonding affects delinquent conduct, focusing in particular on the role of the school in the delinquent involvement of black youths. Our orientation is primarily a control theory one that suggests that the greater the degree of school bonding the lesser the likelihood of involvement in delinquent activities. Our review of the literature leads us to expect differential levels of bonding by race and across varying racial environments of schools, with resulting differential effects on delinquency. On the basis of a neighborhood sample of 942 adolescents, we identijj seven distinct dimensions of school bonding. The analysis reveals that blacks are at least as strongly bonded to the school as whites, that our model explains comparable amounts of variance in delinquency across race-sex subgroups, and that the racial composition of the school is generally unimportant in conditioning the effect of school bonding on delinquency. While our findings are generally supportive of control theory, a model that purports to be invariant across race, gender, and socioeconomic boundaries, we caution that such a conclusion may be both premature and mistaken. We discuss the implications of these findings and suggest that they be interpreted within a framework that also considers family and peer bonding.
Chapter
The propensity score methodology has become quite common in applied research in the last 10 years, and criminology is no exception to this growing trend. It offers a potentially powerful way to estimate the treatment effect of some intervention on behavior when the receipt of treatment arises in a nonrandom way – this is the selection problem. It does so by creating synthetic “experimental” and “control” groups that are equivalent on a large number of potential confounding variables. In this chapter, we first introduce the counterfactual framework on which the propensity score method is based and define the average treatment effect. We then outline technical issues that must be addressed when the propensity score method is used in practice, including estimation of the propensity score, demonstration of covariate balance, and estimation of the treatment effect of interest. To provide a step-by-step example of the method, we appeal to the relationship between employment and substance use in adolescence. Following a brief review of research in criminology and related disciplines that employ the propensity score methodology, we offer a number of guidelines for use of the technique.
Article
Multiple-item measures of self-reported offending typically provide the principal outcome measures for individual level research on the causes of crime and deviance. This article directs attention to the substantial problems presented by the task of forming composite scores for these measures, and it presents a possible solution to those problems. We consider scaling by means of the graded response model from item response theory (IRT) as a potential means of overcoming the shortcomings of traditional summative scaling and of obtaining valuable information about the strengths and weaknesses of our measures. We illustrate this strategy through a scale analysis of a fourteen-item, self-report measure of delinquency, using three years of data from the Monitoring the Future study, an annual national survey of high school seniors. The graded response model proves to be consistent with the data, and it provides results that address important substantive questions about self-report measures. The findings are informative about the strengths and weaknesses of alternative strategies for developing self-report instruments, indicating that there is little to be gained by making fine distinctions in the frequency of individual delinquent acts.
Article
The conversations of 186 adolescent boys (13 to 14 years old) and their friends were videotaped and analyzed to understand the processes of influence associated with antisocial behavior. The videotaped discussions were coded with a system that captured the general topics (Normative vs. Rule-Breaking) as well as the reactions of the listener (Laugh vs. Pause). Matching law analyses confirmed a linear relationship between the dyadic rate of Rule-Breaking talk and contingent positive reactions. Sequential analyses revealed a statistically reliable reciprocal pattern between Rule-Breaking talk and Laugh in the delinquent (both boys arrested) dyads, whereas in the mixed (one arrested) and nondelinquent (neither arrested) dyads, reciprocation occurred between Normative talk and Laugh. Longitudinal analyses of the boys' behavior over the ensuing 2 years revealed that the deviancy training sequence was prognostic of increases in self-reported delinquent behavior, even after controlling for prior levels of delinquency. It appears that discussions of deviancy play a critical role in organizing positive affective exchanges, thereby establishing problem behavior as a common ground activity that potentially exacerbates adolescent social maladjustment. These findings are discussed with respect to developmental theory and intervention science.
Article
The odds ratio (OR) is probably the most widely used index of effect size in epidemiological studies. The difficulty of interpreting the OR has troubled many clinical researchers and epidemiologists for a long time. We propose a new method for interpreting the size of the OR by relating it to differences in a normal standard deviate. Our calculations indicate that OR = 1.68, 3.47, and 6.71 are equivalent to Cohen's d = 0.2 (small), 0.5 (medium), and 0.8 (large), respectively, when disease rate is 1% in the nonexposed group; Cohen's d