Duke University study: Juvenile offenders probably more criminal to begin with

17 Apr

Plessy v. Ferguson established the principle of “separate but equal” in race issues. Brown v. Board of Education which overturned the principle of “separate but equal.” would not have been necessary, but for Plessy. See also, the history of Brown v. Board of Education

If one believes that all children, regardless of that child’s status have a right to a good basic education and that society must fund and implement policies, which support this principle. Then, one must discuss the issue of equity in education. Because of the segregation, which resulted after Plessy, most folks focus their analysis of Brown almost solely on race. The issue of equity was just as important. The equity issue was explained in terms of unequal resources and unequal access to education.

Alyssa Morones reported in the Education Week article, Juvenile-Justice System Not Meeting Educational Needs, Report Says:

Many of the teenagers who enter the juvenile-justice system with anger problems, learning disabilities, and academic challenges receive little or no special help for those issues, and consequently fall further behind in school, a report released Thursday concludes.
“Way too many kids enter the juvenile-justice system, they don’t do particularly well from an education standpoint while they’re there, and way too few kids make successful transitions out,” said Kent McGuire, the president and CEO of the Atlanta-based Southern Education Foundation, which produced the report, “Just Learning: The Imperative to Transform Juvenile Justice Systems Into Effective Educational Systems.”
The report characterizes the problems plaguing the juvenile-justice system as “systemic.” It found a lack of timely, accurate assessments of the needs of students entering the system, little coordination between learning and teaching during a student’s stay, and inconsistency in curricula. Many of the teaching methods were also inappropriate, outdated, or inadequate, and little or no educational technology was used.
“We need to help find ways to create structures and dramatically change how schools and principals and teachers [in the juvenile-justice system] are held accountable,” said David Domenici, the executive director of the Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings, in Washington.
“We have kids who have not done well in school, but, more or less, they have to come every day. They’re a captive audience,” he said. “We can transform their perspective on school. But the reality is, education has been forgotten [in juvenile-justice systems].”
On any given day, 70,000 students are in custody in juvenile-justice systems across the country. Nearly two-thirds of those young people are either African-American or Hispanic, and an even higher percentage are male. Those systems, though, may be doing more educational harm than good, according to the report. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/04/17/29justice.h33.html

A Duke University study examines the question of nature vs. nurture regarding juvenile offenders/

Science Daily reported Juvenile offenders probably more criminal to begin with                         

It’s a long-simmering debate in juvenile justice: Do young offenders become worse because of their experience with the justice system, or are they somehow different than people who don’t have their first criminal conviction until later in life?

“There seems to be a lot of evidence that people who are convicted early are more heavily involved in crime,” says postdoctoral researcher Amber Beckley at Duke University, who has a new study out on the topic that appears online in the Journal of Criminal Justice.

Using data from a study that has tracked nearly 1,000 New Zealanders from birth to age 38, Beckley looked at patterns that would distinguish youthful offenders from what she calls “adult-onset offenders.”

Of the 931 study participants, 138 males began criminal activity as juveniles. The adult-onset group consisted of 66 males. Across the entire cohort, in fact, 42 percent of the men have some sort of conviction, ranging from shoplifting and DUI to property crimes and assaults.

Using this unusually rich source of data, the study was able to look at childhood history compared with adult behavior. Beckley, who is in the department of psychology and neuroscience at Duke, said the adult-onset group had a history of anti-social behavior back to childhood, but reported committing relatively fewer crimes.

The researchers looked at several possible reasons for adult-onset criminal behavior.

This group reported committing more crimes than folks who had never been convicted, but fewer crimes than people who had been in trouble as juveniles.

Contrary to some hypotheses, adult-onset offenders in this study were not found to come from significantly wealthier socioeconomic backgrounds, nor were they any more intelligent than those who were caught younger. They were more likely than non-offenders to have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and to be dependent on alcohol, but they were no more likely to be unemployed.

Beckley said her findings have some clear implications also for the mental health component of adult-onset criminal behavior. “It should be addressed in sentencing, because it’s not now and most incarcerations aren’t exactly therapeutic.”

Juvenile offenders probably more criminal to begin with: ‘Adult-onset’ criminals are different, but not in expected ways

Citation:

Juvenile offenders probably more criminal to begin with

‘Adult-onset’ criminals are different, but not in expected ways

Date:             April 14, 2016

Source:         Duke University

Summary:

It’s a long-simmering debate in juvenile justice: Do young offenders become worse because of their experience with the justice system, or are they somehow different than people who don’t have their first criminal conviction until later in life? A longitudinal study covering 931 people from birth to age 38 finds juvenile offenders are probably more criminal to begin with.

Journal Reference:

  1. Amber L. Beckley, Avshalom Caspi, Honalee Harrington, Renate M. Houts, Tara Renae Mcgee, Nick Morgan, Felix Schroeder, Sandhya Ramrakha, Richie Poulton, Terrie E. Moffitt. Adult-onset offenders: Is a tailored theory warranted?Journal of Criminal Justice, 2016; 46: 64 DOI: 1016/j.jcrimjus.2016.03.001

Here is the press release from Duke University:

Juvenile Offenders Probably More Criminal to Begin With

‘Adult-onset’ criminals are different, but not in expected ways

April 14, 2016 |

DURHAM, NC – It’s a long-simmering debate in juvenile justice: Do young offenders become worse because of their experience with the justice system, or are they somehow different than people who don’t have their first criminal conviction until later in life?

“There seems to be a lot of evidence that people who are convicted early are more heavily involved in crime,” says postdoctoral researcher Amber Beckley at Duke University, who has a new study out on the topic that appears online in the Journal of Criminal Justice.

Using data from a study that has tracked nearly 1,000 New Zealanders from birth to age 38, Beckley looked at patterns that would distinguish youthful offenders from what she calls “adult-onset offenders.”

Of the 931 study participants, 138 males began criminal activity as juveniles. The adult-onset group consisted of 66 males. Across the entire cohort, in fact, 42 percent of the men have some sort of conviction, ranging from shoplifting and DUI to property crimes and assaults.

Using this unusually rich source of data, the study was able to look at childhood history compared with adult behavior. Beckley, who is in the department of psychology and neuroscience at Duke, said the adult-onset group had a history of anti-social behavior back to childhood, but reported committing relatively fewer crimes.

The researchers looked at several possible reasons for adult-onset criminal behavior.

This group reported committing more crimes than folks who had never been convicted, but fewer crimes than people who had been in trouble as juveniles.

Contrary to some hypotheses, adult-onset offenders in this study were not found to come from significantly wealthier socioeconomic backgrounds, nor were they any more intelligent than those who were caught younger. They were more likely than non-offenders to have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and to be dependent on alcohol, but they were no more likely to be unemployed.

Beckley said her findings have some clear implications also for the mental health component of adult-onset criminal behavior. “It should be addressed in sentencing, because it’s not now and most incarcerations aren’t exactly therapeutic.”

“I don’t think the court system has a large role in the juvenile offender’s trajectory,” Beckley said. The New Zealand subjects who were juvenile offenders self-reported that they were doing more and worse crimes at a young age, “before they even got caught.”

If there were any recommendations out of this study, Beckley said, hers would be to focus more on juvenile offenders while perhaps being be a bit more lenient on first-time adult offenders. “We should continue to devote resources to juvenile justice because two-thirds of the criminal population first commit crimes in adolescence.”

CITATION: “Adult-Onset Offenders: Is a tailored theory warranted?” Amber Beckley, Avshalom Caspi, Honalee Harrington, Renate Houts, Tara Mcgee, Nick Morgan, Felix Schroeder, Sandhya Ramrakha, Richie Poulton, Terrie Moffitt. Journal of Criminal Justice, 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2016.03.001

MORE INFORMATION

CONTACT: Karl Leif Bates

PHONE: (919) 681-8054

EMAIL: karl.bates@duke.edu

© 2016 Office of News & Communications
615 Chapel Drive, Box 90563, Durham, NC 27708-0563
(919) 684-2823; After-hours phone (for reporters on deadline): (919) 812-6603

Kids Count Data Center has statistics about the number of children in detention centers.

According to the report, Youth residing in juvenile detention and correctional facilities:
Location Data Type 2001 2003 2006 2007 2010
United States Number 104,219 96,531 92,721 86,814 70,792

Rate 335 306 295 278 225
INDICATOR CONTEXT

A change is underway in out nation’s approach to dealing with young people who get in trouble with the law. Although the United States still leads the industrialized world in the rate at which it locks up young people, the youth confinement rate in the US is rapidly declining.

Read Reducing Youth Incarceration in the United States to learn more.
http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/42-youth-residing-in-juvenile-detention-and-correctional-facilities#detailed/1/any/false/133,18,17,14,12/any/319,320

Although, the number of children in detention was declining as of the date of this report, these children must have their needs addressed and the Southern Education Foundation report indicates that that is not happening.

Related:

3rd world America: Many young people headed for life on the dole https://drwilda.com/2012/09/21/3rd-world-america-many-young-people-headed-for-life-on-the-dole/

The Civil Rights Project report: Segregation in education                                           https://drwilda.com/2012/09/19/the-civil-rights-project-report-segregation-in-education/

Study: Poverty affects education attainmen                                                                    https://drwilda.com/2012/08/29/study-poverty-affects-education-attainment/

Center for American Progress report: Disparity in education spending for education of children of color                                                                                                                  https://drwilda.com/2012/08/22/center-for-american-progress-report-disparity-in-education-spending-for-education-of-children-of-color/

Education funding lawsuits against states on the rise                                                     https://drwilda.com/2012/01/25/education-funding-lawsuits-against-states-on-the-rise/

3rd world America: The link between poverty and education                   https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/3rd-world-america-the-link-between-poverty-and-education/

Race, class, and education in America                                             https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/race-class-and-education-in-america/

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