Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice

Sage Publications, Inc.
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Latest documents

  • Deservingness and Punishment in Juvenile Justice: Do Black Youth Grow Up “Faster” in the Eyes of the Court?

    The present study investigated whether race moderates the effect of age on juvenile court dispositions in ways that illuminate a subtler form of racial disparities than has been previously identified. Drawing on prior theory and research, we hypothesize that at young ages, virtually all youth are perceived as children and met with treatment-oriented responses. As youth grow older, however, we anticipate that Black defendants will be perceived as more culpable and more deserving of punishment than similarly-aged White defendants and that disposition patterns will reflect that differential perception. Using data from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (N = 124,075), the present study examines a five-category disposition using a multinomial regression model with interactions between age and race variables. We found mixed support for the hypotheses. On the one hand, compared to similarly-aged White defendants, Black defendants became significantly less likely to be diverted—the most treatment-oriented disposition—and significantly more likely to be transferred—the most punitive disposition—as age increased. On the other hand, race did not moderate age effects for dismissal, probation, or commitment. There is thus some evidence that age may be racialized for some dispositions, but not others. Implications for research and policy are discussed.

  • Maturation as a Promoter of Change in Features of Psychopathy Between Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood

    The relationship between psychopathy and negative behavioral, social, and health outcomes has lead to calls to identify factors that promote change in features of psychopathy. Given that maturation has important implications for changes in personality more broadly, it also may be informative of changes in specific personality traits associated with psychopathy. Rocque’s integrated maturation theory was used in the current study to guide the measurement of psychosocial, adult social role, and identity maturation domains among boys and girls from the Pathways to Desistance Study (n = 1,354). Based on cross-lagged dynamic panel models, within-individual change in temperance (psychosocial maturation), work orientation and consideration of others (adult social role maturation), and moral disengagement (identity maturation) predicted within-individual change in features of psychopathy measured using the Youth Psychopathic Traits Inventory. Maturation may influence features of psychopathy directly or indirectly through changes in a person’s social environment. Understanding why features of psychopathy change is an important step for developing person-oriented intervention strategies.

  • Did Juvenile Domestic Violence Offending Change During COVID-19?

    The current study castssome of the first light into the initial impacts of the largest global health crisis in a generation on family and domestic violence, the long-term repercussions of which may take decades to unpack. Statewide trends in juvenile arrests for domestic violence (DV)-related offending are examined, taking into account school closures for in-person learning in March 2020 and the subsequent mandate for an in-person learning option in Florida in August 2020. Additionally, trends by sex, race/ethnicity, and severity of the offense are examined. Contrasting with growing studies demonstrating an increase in DV-related arrests among adults, we find a significant decrease upon school closures then subsequent increase when schools reopened with an in-person option. Results held across examined subgroups, yet the extent of increase following mandatory in-person learning availability was not as uniform, with Hispanic youth showing the smallest increase and Black youth the largest. Implications are discussed.

  • Incorrigibility and the Juvenile Homicide Offender: An Ecologically Valid Integrative Review

    The United States Supreme Court decision in Miller v. Alabama highlighted the importance of an individual’s “incorrigibility” and the prospect of “irreparable corruption” when weighing possible life sentencing for juveniles convicted of homicide. In this review, we study research in multiple content areas spanning homicide recidivism, life-course-persistent or career criminality, and psychopathology and incorrigibility that bears relevance to the risk assessment of juvenile homicide offenders. A well-developed corpus of research and scholarship in these domains documents the severe, lifelong behavioral impairments of the most violent delinquents. In contrast to studies of non-offender student samples and behaviors that bear no ecological validity to juvenile homicide, the research covered herein emanates from epidemiological surveys, birth cohort studies, large-scale prospective longitudinal studies, and correctional studies including homicide offenders and appropriate control groups of other serious delinquents. A rich research foundation in the social, behavioral, and forensic science informs relevant, reliable, and valid forensic assessments of future criminal deviance and incorrigibility in juvenile homicide offenders.

  • The Role of Arrest Risk Perception Formation in the Association Between Psychopathy and Aggressive Offending

    Research on the role of risk perception as a mechanism linking personality traits and behavioral outcomes is limited. The current study assessed a developmental model of the influence of psychopathic traits (PPTs) on the between- and within-individual variation in perceptions of risk and aggressive offending. Multivariate latent growth curve models were used to estimate the role of risk perceptions in the association between PPTs and aggressive offending in a sample of 1,354 adjudicated youths. The results indicated that PPTs influenced between-individual differences in perceptions of risk (β = −.312) and aggressive offending (β = .256), although the effects on within-individual differences suggested some attenuation over time. Additionally, higher PPT scores exhibited an indirect influence on increased aggressive offending through reduced perceptions of risk (β = .049). Implications from this line of research support calls for a developmentally informed juvenile justice system that considers latent personality traits and their long-term effects. Broader implications support individualized rehabilitative programming and tailored responses to offending over the blanket deterrence approach that dominates the current landscape of the American criminal justice system.

  • Redesigning the Central Eight: Introducing the M-PACT Six

    Since their seminal work, Andrews and Bonta outlined the Central Eight assessment domains. As the landscape and utility of criminal justice assessments extended, tool developers expanded upon their initial development principles searching to further risk prediction gains. However, often overlooked in recent advancements is the foundation and usage of associated needs assessments. As a critical component of contemporary tools, particularly for youth, results of needs assessments identify and prioritize program placement. These additional tools comprise domain subscales that represent common predictors of need. Due to their latent nature, need assessment requires careful development and assessments of construct validity. While important, examinations of construct validity are seldom completed for contemporary tools, and their results rarely used for meaningful tool improvements. The current study describes the needs assessment development of the Modified Positive Achievement Change Tool (MPACT). Substantial psychometric evidence of construct validity is provided, describing the tool’s updated, six needs constructs.

  • The Influence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on the Functional Impairment of Justice-Involved Adolescents: A Comparison of Baseline to Follow-Up Reports of Adversity

    Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have long been recognized for negatively influencing individual outcomes such that each additional ACE exposure increases the risk for negative health and behavioral outcomes. Little is known, however, about how the more recent accumulation of ACEs occurring in follow-up periods influence global functioning considering the past accumulation of ACEs reported at baseline by justice-involved adolescents. Participants were 851 adolescents who completed the Northwestern Juvenile Project (NJP), a longitudinal survey. OLS regression models were used to examine the influence of follow-up and baseline ACEs on the functional impairment of youth. Results indicate that both follow-up and baseline ACEs were associated with worse functioning over time with baseline ACEs demonstrating a greater effect. This study highlights the importance of assessing accumulations of ACEs over time for adolescents in the juvenile justice system and considering how youth of different characteristics and experiences may differently encounter functional impairment. Implications for offering trauma-informed services to disrupt the effects of adversity on adolescents’ functioning are discussed.

  • Profile Analysis and Risk Assessment: Identifying Distinct Patterns of Risks and Needs

    The goal of this study was to identify distinct and meaningful profiles of the seven criminogenic risk and need domains included on the Ohio Youth Assessment System—Disposition Tool (OYAS-DIS). This goal was accomplished by conducting a latent profile analysis (LPA) on a sample of 4,383 formally processed justice-involved youth assessed by the OYAS-DIS. The LPA determined there were six distinct profiles: (1) Low risk and need, (2) Low/moderate risk and need, (3) Low risk/need with high juvenile justice history, (4) Academic, mental health, and substance use needs, (5) Prosocial skills and decision making, and (6) High risk and need. Results may help juvenile justice practitioners to identify and address specific intervention needs of adjudicated youth.

  • Examining the Type of Legal Representation and Its Influence on Disaggregated Dispositions in Juvenile Court

    While prior studies of juvenile court outcomes have examined the impact of legal representation on out-of-home placement versus community sanctions, previous research has not fully explored the variation within sanctions that youth receive. The current study examines the influence of type of legal representation (public defender or private attorney) when predicting juvenile adjudications and dispositions. Using a sample of delinquent referrals from a Northeast state between 2009 and 2014, results showed that youth do receive different outcomes (e.g., probation, drug and alcohol treatment, accountability-oriented dispositions, etc.) based on the type of legal representation. The findings have important implications for juvenile court processing related to how courtroom actors impact case outcomes.

  • Trauma, Psychopathy, and Antisocial Outcomes Among Community Youth: Distinguishing Trauma Events From Trauma Reactions

    Psychopathy and trauma exposure are robustly associated with youth conduct problems, but the interrelation of these constructs is unclear. The objective of the present study is to examine psychopathy mediation effects related to trauma events and trauma reactions and juvenile delinquency, conduct disorder, crime seriousness, and proactive overt aggression outcomes. The sample consisted of N =388 (M = 16.01 years, SD = 1.03 years, age range = 13–18 years) male youths from Portugal. Path analysis procedures revealed that psychopathy partially mediates the relation between trauma events and the juvenile delinquency, conduct disorder, crime seriousness outcomes, and fully mediates the relation between trauma events and the proactive overt aggression outcome. Trauma reactions have no direct significant effect on psychopathy, and psychopathy does not mediate the relation between trauma reactions and the examined outcomes. Research on trauma and adverse childhood experiences should encompass both events and reactions to those events as they have differential associations with psychopathy and externalizing outcomes. Trauma-informed service, supervision, and treatment is essential for understanding antisocial development and psychological maladjustment among youth.

Featured documents

  • Race Socialization and Parenting Styles

    This study investigated differences in the use of authoritarian parenting (AP), a race socialization practice among high-risk African American parents and compared it to authoritative parenting (ATP) a style found efficacious for White adolescents. Data from the Rochester Youth Development Study...

  • Did Juvenile Domestic Violence Offending Change During COVID-19?

    The current study castssome of the first light into the initial impacts of the largest global health crisis in a generation on family and domestic violence, the long-term repercussions of which may take decades to unpack. Statewide trends in juvenile arrests for domestic violence (DV)-related...

  • Incarcerating Youth With Mental Health Problems

    Mental health problems among youth in the juvenile justice system are of particular concern given their high prevalence rate. The current study applies attribution theory and focal concerns to examine how mental health problems influence the judicial decision to commit youth to confinement....

  • The Effectiveness of Various Restorative Justice Interventions on Recidivism Outcomes Among Juvenile Offenders

    Research has generally supported the effectiveness of restorative justice (RJ) programs on a number of outcomes; however, little research has examined the effectiveness of variations in the intervention. This study examined several variations of an RJ program for juvenile offenders, including...

  • Deterring Teen Bullying

    While decades of criminological research have returned mixed results when it comes to deterrence theory, deterrence-informed policies continue to proliferate unabated. Specific to bullying among adolescents, many U.S. states have recently passed new laws – or updated old ones – increasing potential ...

  • From Child Welfare to Juvenile Justice

    At least one third of youth involved with juvenile justice experienced child maltreatment. Child welfare samples thus provide a means to examine how child welfare services moderate the relationship between maltreatment and delinquency, producing information essential for tailoring services to...

  • The Interrelationship Between Empathy and Adverse Childhood Experiences and Their Impact on Juvenile Recidivism

    Low empathy has been implicated in antisocial, aggressive, and criminal behavior, especially among adolescents. Less understood is the extent to which empathy is amenable to treatment, and whether an improvement in empathy can mitigate the deleterious effects of known risk factors, such as...

  • The Influence of Psychopathic Personality Traits, Low Self-Control, and Nonshared Environmental Factors on Criminal Involvement

    Theoretical and empirical research has linked variation in parental and peer socialization patterns as well as criminogenic traits, particularly psychopathy and low self-control, to criminal involvement. Findings from this body of scholarship, however, have generally been produced without...

  • The Potential Mediating Impact of Future Orientation on the ACE–Crime Relationship

    Prior research has established that having a low future orientation is associated with offending. Additionally, it has been found that being exposed to adverse childhood events such as physical abuse may lower one’s future orientation and increase one’s offending likelihood. One gap in this line of ...

  • Self-Control Versus Psychopathy

    Self-control and psychopathy are prominent general theories of antisociality that, although present a very similar type of individual, have not often been studied in tandem, and few studies have conducted a head-to-head test of their association with serious delinquency and youth violence. Using a...

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