Patchin, J. W. (2006). The Family Context of Childhood Delinquency. New York: LFB Scholarly. 128 pp., $60.00 (hardcover). ISBN: 1-59332-154-6

AuthorJonathan Caudill
Published date01 January 2009
Date01 January 2009
Subject MatterArticles
YVJJ325068.qxd Youth Violence and
Juvenile Justice
Volume 7 Number 1
January 2009 70-71
Patchin, J. W. (2006). The Family Context of Childhood Delinquency.
© 2009 SAGE Publications
New York: LFB Scholarly. 128 pp., $60.00 (hardcover).
hosted at
ISBN: 1-59332-154-6.
DOI: 10.1177/1541204008325068
Although the most recent report from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
suggests that violent juvenile crime has decreased in the past decade (Snyder & Sickmund, 2006), evi-
dence of juvenile violence remains. A quick glance of national news reveals story after story of youth
violence and serious habitual offending. As a society, how do we identify the causation of serious
youth delinquency and what steps do we take to insulate youth from the contributing factors of it?
As is typical with most societal issues, we generally take a reactive approach to youth delin-
quency. Our system is designed to be reactive: identify the problem, then attempt a solution. Most
common for serious juvenile offenders, our solution is formal (i.e., adjudication, then probation, res-
idential placement, or incarceration). Although this solution undoubtedly attempts to reduce the
offender’s ability to victimize others, this reactive approach does little to address the root causes of
serious juvenile offending.
During our plight of reactive rehabilitation appears a refreshing approach to serious habitual juve-
nile offenders. Justin W. Patchin’s The Family Context of Childhood Delinquency reaffirms what
research has suggested for many decades: increased prosocial family bonds are negatively correlated
with youthful delinquency. Specifically, this monograph focuses on family attachment and habitual
serious young juvenile delinquents, ages 10 to 13. Although this research was part of a larger pro-
gram evaluation, the results provide insight into serious habitual juvenile offending.
Patchin’s review of the extant literature is exhaustive, not only...

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