Special Issue "Development of Juvenile Delinquency"

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A special issue of Laws (ISSN 2075-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Tamar R. Birckhead

University of North Carolina School of Law, 102 Rocky Ridge Road, CB #3380, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1 919 962 6107
Fax: +1 919 962 3375
Interests: criminal defense; criminal justice; criminal law; juvenile delinquency; sentencing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Laws is devoted to an examination of the factors that contribute to juvenile offending and the resulting implications for research, policy, and practice. The purpose of the Issue is to explore the ways in which developmental science -- including brain, cognitive, and psychosocial development -- should inform programs of prevention and intervention as well as the treatment of juveniles once they enter the justice system. The Issue will address such salient topics as the criminal culpability of adolescents; adolescents’ competence to stand trial; the impact of punitive sanctions on juvenile behavior; and effective strategies for lowering rates of recidivism. Each article, when possible, will focus on common issues and questions confronted by scholars, practitioners, and advocates working in the field of juvenile justice. They will be readable by a broad audience and not limited in relevance to a single country or jurisdiction. We would like this Special Issue to be a critical reference point for scholars and the wider community interested in the development of juvenile delinquency.

Dr. Tamar R. Birckhead
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Laws is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • adolescence
  • crime
  • delinquency
  • gender
  • law
  • maltreatment
  • neuroscience
  • public policy
  • race
  • socioeconomic status

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle A Comparison of Female Delinquents: The Impact of Child Maltreatment Histories on Risk and Need Characteristics among a Missouri Sample
Laws 2014, 3(4), 780-797; doi:10.3390/laws3040780
Received: 1 August 2014 / Revised: 3 October 2014 / Accepted: 15 October 2014 / Published: 31 October 2014
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Abstract
While boys who offend have been a dominant majority and primary concern of the juvenile court since its earliest days, the population of delinquent girls has increased in recent years at a far higher rate in the U.S. The special challenges presented by
[...] Read more.
While boys who offend have been a dominant majority and primary concern of the juvenile court since its earliest days, the population of delinquent girls has increased in recent years at a far higher rate in the U.S. The special challenges presented by females, however, continue to be generally overlooked by the justice system. Moreover, while a few specialized programs now serve these girls, the field tends to view young female offenders as a homogeneous group; what distinguishes particular female subpopulations and the characteristics associated with different criminal trajectories have gone largely unexplored. Employing data from the state of Missouri, this study examines girls who offend, identifying models that predict subsequent violent behavior that include indicators such as parental substance abuse and incarceration, and offender substance abuse, mental health, and school behavior. Special attention is given to the effects of child maltreatment, which we find significantly, but weakly correlated with violent behavior. The authors conclude by considering the possibility that maltreatment may be correlated with other criminogenic factors, and by discussing the implications of findings for future research and practice, especially services that take into account the trauma experienced by young women who come to the attention of state authorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of Juvenile Delinquency)
Open AccessArticle Explaining Female Offending and Prosocial Behavior: The Role of Empathy and Cognitive Distortions
Laws 2014, 3(4), 706-720; doi:10.3390/laws3040706
Received: 11 July 2014 / Revised: 25 September 2014 / Accepted: 30 September 2014 / Published: 15 October 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (259 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of the present study was threefold: to examine (1) the relation between both cognitive and affective empathy and prosocial behavior; (2) the relation between both cognitive and affective empathy and offending; and (3) the role of cognitive distortions in the relation
[...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was threefold: to examine (1) the relation between both cognitive and affective empathy and prosocial behavior; (2) the relation between both cognitive and affective empathy and offending; and (3) the role of cognitive distortions in the relation between cognitive empathy, affective empathy and offending in a sample of adolescent girls with lower SES and education (N = 264). Results showed that both cognitive and affective empathy were positively related to prosocial behavior. Furthermore, cognitive empathy was positively related to offending, whereas affective empathy was not related to offending. Finally, no support was found for our hypothesis that cognitive distortions play a moderating role in the relation between empathy and offending. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of Juvenile Delinquency)
Open AccessArticle Trajectories and Risk Factors of Criminal Behavior among Females from Adolescence to Early Adulthood
Laws 2014, 3(4), 651-673; doi:10.3390/laws3040651
Received: 11 June 2014 / Revised: 28 August 2014 / Accepted: 5 September 2014 / Published: 29 September 2014
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Abstract
Previous research suggests that social environmental and individual-level factors influence adolescent development and behavior over time. However, little attention has been devoted to examining how risk factors (i.e., parental support, peer delinquency, self-control) affect trajectories of criminal behavior among female adolescents.
[...] Read more.
Previous research suggests that social environmental and individual-level factors influence adolescent development and behavior over time. However, little attention has been devoted to examining how risk factors (i.e., parental support, peer delinquency, self-control) affect trajectories of criminal behavior among female adolescents. Utilizing data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (n = 5138 females) and latent class analysis, three offending trajectories among females from late adolescence to early adulthood were identified: late escalators, late de-escalators, and stable low/abstainers. Next, the influence of social environmental and individual-level factors during adolescence (Wave 1) on these trajectories was assessed. Results identified key differences in the risk factors related to group placement. The implications of the findings for prevention and treatment services targeting adolescent females, and directions for future research, are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of Juvenile Delinquency)
Open AccessArticle Juvenile Justice in Mexico
Laws 2014, 3(3), 580-597; doi:10.3390/laws3030580
Received: 18 July 2014 / Revised: 15 August 2014 / Accepted: 18 August 2014 / Published: 26 August 2014
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Abstract
The first tribunal in Mexico was established in the central state of San Luis Potosi in 1926. The Law Regarding Social Prevention and Juvenile Delinquency for the Federal District and Mexican territories was promulgated in 1928. In 2005, Article 18 of the Mexican
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The first tribunal in Mexico was established in the central state of San Luis Potosi in 1926. The Law Regarding Social Prevention and Juvenile Delinquency for the Federal District and Mexican territories was promulgated in 1928. In 2005, Article 18 of the Mexican Constitution was modified to establish a comprehensive system (“Sistema Integral de justicia” in Spanish) of justice for juveniles between 12 and 18 years old who had committed a crime punishable under criminal law. Its objective was to guarantee juveniles all the due process rights established for adults, in addition to the special ones recognized for minors. The constitutional reform also provides a framework that includes special tribunals as well as alternative justice options for juveniles. With these reforms, institutionalization of minors was to be considered an extreme measure applicable only to felonies and to juveniles older than 14. In 2006, all states within the Mexican federation enacted the “Law of justice for adolescents”. This system, at both the federal and state levels, formalizes a new global paradigm with regard to the triangular relationship between children, the State and the Law. It recognizes that children are also bearers of the inherent human rights recognized for all individuals, instead of simply objects in need of protection. However, despite formally aligning Mexican juvenile justice law with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), issues of actual substantive rights remained and new ones have appeared. For example, juveniles younger than 14 who have not committed a felony are released from institutions without any rehabilitation or treatment options, and alternative forms of justice were included without evaluating their possibilities of application or their conditions for success. In addition, the economic status of most juvenile detainees continues to be one of the most important determining factors in the administration of justice. Juveniles lack real access to an adequate defense because they cannot afford to pay lawyers. This disconnection between rights and reality undermines the new system, raising the question of whether recent modifications to bring laws in line with international norms are in fact advancing juvenile justice. By approaching the Mexican juvenile justice systems as a single, multilayered system combining international, federal and local laws and procedures, we can better describe some of the substantive inconsistencies that continue to prevail, even as new ones develop in terms of children’s rights. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of Juvenile Delinquency)
Open AccessArticle Youth Gang Members: Psychiatric Disorders and Substance Use
Laws 2013, 2(4), 392-400; doi:10.3390/laws2040392
Received: 15 August 2013 / Revised: 22 September 2013 / Accepted: 9 October 2013 / Published: 15 October 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (172 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Objective: Approximately 260,000 of youth in the United States are gang-affiliated. There is a paucity of data available to identify the prevalence of mental health disorders in this population. Gang members share many of the features of “at risk” or juvenile justice involved
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Objective: Approximately 260,000 of youth in the United States are gang-affiliated. There is a paucity of data available to identify the prevalence of mental health disorders in this population. Gang members share many of the features of “at risk” or juvenile justice involved youth who deny gang membership. The authors identified rates of psychiatric disorders within a juvenile justice population delineated in three categories: gang members, friends of gang members, and non-gang members. Methods: A retrospective review of records obtained by a juvenile probation department. A large detention center conducted mental health screenings on 7,615 youth aged 13–17. The mental health screenings were performed by either a master level or doctoral level mental health professional. Odds ratios were computed as an effect size for gender, race/ethnic differences, and gang-membership associations with self-reported psychiatric and substance use disorders. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the risk for psychiatric and substance use disorders among gang-members and friends of gang members. Diagnostic information was generated through a clinical interview and flexible battery. Results: Of the 7,615 youth in this study, ~50% had contact with gangs; 11% were self-identified gang-members, and 38% acknowledged having at least one friendship with a gang member. Similar to other studies, being male was a risk-factor for gang-membership (2.31 odds). In this multi-racial and ethnic study, Latinos had a greater affiliation with gang membership and association with gang members as friends (1.44 odds). Gang members were found to have increased rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (1.77 odds), current substance abuse (2.58 odds), oppositional defiant disorder, (1.24 odds) and conduct disorder (4.05 odds); however, they were less likely to have an adjustment disorder than non-gang members (0.70 odds). Conclusions: Juveniles who received a mental health assessment in this study were found to have differences in rates of psychiatric disorders and substance use based upon gang-affiliation or association. Current data is limited and inconsistent in the delineation of individual, family, peer, school and community characteristics specific to gang members. These differences warrant further investigation for intervention and treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of Juvenile Delinquency)
Open AccessArticle Delinquency and Crime among Immigrant Youth—An Integrative Review of Theoretical Explanations
Laws 2013, 2(3), 210-232; doi:10.3390/laws2030210
Received: 18 June 2013 / Revised: 31 July 2013 / Accepted: 5 August 2013 / Published: 13 August 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (252 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although classical theorists tend to believe that immigrant youth are more delinquent than native-born adolescents, the existing empirical studies have shown the opposite. The current paper first gives a comprehensive overview of major theoretical explanations for the relatively lower level of delinquency among
[...] Read more.
Although classical theorists tend to believe that immigrant youth are more delinquent than native-born adolescents, the existing empirical studies have shown the opposite. The current paper first gives a comprehensive overview of major theoretical explanations for the relatively lower level of delinquency among immigrant youth, including cultural perspectives, strain theories, social control theory, social learning theory, and social disorganization theory. The main argument is that immigrant youth who have not yet acculturated to the youth subculture of the host society are more law-abiding due to protections from their traditional traits (i.e., being more realistic, stronger ties with family/schools, less access to delinquent friends, and higher level of collective efficacy in homogeneous neighborhoods). All these theories are also applied to explain the generational differences in terms of delinquency: compared to earlier generations, later generations of immigrant youth are often more delinquent because they are more acculturated and the protective factors from their origins wear off over time. The continuing public and political bias toward immigrant youth has been explained by social constructionists. We further discuss the necessity of a synthesis of these theoretical approaches and the importance to examine both internal and international migration under similar theoretical frameworks in the modern era. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of Juvenile Delinquency)
Open AccessArticle Examining the Infractions Causing Higher Rates of Suspensions and Expulsions: Racial and Ethnic Considerations
Laws 2013, 2(1), 20-32; doi:10.3390/laws2010020
Received: 25 February 2013 / Revised: 6 March 2013 / Accepted: 14 March 2013 / Published: 20 March 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (59 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study investigated school discipline infractions leading to suspensions and expulsions in Louisiana to determine patterns and trends, particularly among racial/ethnic groups. Discipline incident data rather than student discipline data were used to provide a more accurate reflection of the number of infractions
[...] Read more.
This study investigated school discipline infractions leading to suspensions and expulsions in Louisiana to determine patterns and trends, particularly among racial/ethnic groups. Discipline incident data rather than student discipline data were used to provide a more accurate reflection of the number of infractions and dispositions occurring. Findings included that black students and American Indian students had a higher percentage of out-of-school suspensions and were more likely to commit an infraction in the violent discipline infractions category, but the overwhelming majority of offenses for all groups were for non-violent and non-drug offenses. Links to juvenile delinquency and zero tolerance policies are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of Juvenile Delinquency)

Review

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Open AccessReview Addressing Trauma and Psychosocial Development in Juvenile Justice-Involved Youth: A Synthesis of the Developmental Neuroscience, Juvenile Justice and Trauma Literature
Laws 2014, 3(4), 744-758; doi:10.3390/laws3040744
Received: 1 July 2014 / Revised: 3 October 2014 / Accepted: 11 October 2014 / Published: 21 October 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (230 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Youth incarcerated in the juvenile justice system are disproportionately exposed to traumas both in and outside of custody that are associated with poor social, behavioral, and developmental outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to describe one pathway through which trauma can impact
[...] Read more.
Youth incarcerated in the juvenile justice system are disproportionately exposed to traumas both in and outside of custody that are associated with poor social, behavioral, and developmental outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to describe one pathway through which trauma can impact a myriad of outcomes, including delinquency, violence, substance use, and other behaviors that are self-regulatory in nature. Relevant research from the developmental neuroscience, juvenile justice, and trauma literatures are drawn upon and synthesized to describe this pathway. Using a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the role that brain development and neural activity play in the relationship between trauma and associated behavioral outcomes could serve to inform juvenile justice policy decisions and intervention practice. Such application could increase the effectiveness with which juvenile justice systems work with one of the most vulnerable and traumatized populations of youth in today’s society: those incarcerated in our juvenile justice system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of Juvenile Delinquency)
Open AccessReview Reculer Pour Mieux Sauter: A Review of Attachment and Other Developmental Processes Inherent in Identified Risk Factors for Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Offending
Laws 2014, 3(3), 439-468; doi:10.3390/laws3030439
Received: 21 April 2014 / Revised: 4 July 2014 / Accepted: 11 July 2014 / Published: 24 July 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (670 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The task of this paper is to identify the causes of juvenile delinquency and juvenile offending. The French proverb chosen for its title (Step back in order to jump better) reflects the inherent challenge in this task; that is, how far
[...] Read more.
The task of this paper is to identify the causes of juvenile delinquency and juvenile offending. The French proverb chosen for its title (Step back in order to jump better) reflects the inherent challenge in this task; that is, how far back must we step in order to gain a complete understanding of these causes? Do we commence with adolescence, childhood, birth, pregnancy, conception, or the young person’s parents and their life experiences? How wide a net do we cast? Should we focus primarily on intra-individual factors, or the social ecologies in which young delinquents are found? Every story must have a beginning. In this story about young people who fall off the prosocial developmental trajectory, all sign posts point to attachment and the quality of the child’s first attachment experiences. This review will examine, from attachment and other developmental perspectives, how many of the more proximal causes of delinquency and youth offending have their origins in the emotional deficits suffered in early life. We will argue that delinquent and offending behavior represent attempts to redress these deficits. Consequently, interventions that attempt to prevent offending and reduce recidivism that do not address attachment ruptures and other early deficits cannot expect satisfactory outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of Juvenile Delinquency)
Open AccessReview Engendering the Evidence Base: A Critical Review of the Conceptual and Empirical Foundations of Gender-Responsive Interventions for Girls’ Delinquency
Laws 2013, 2(3), 244-282; doi:10.3390/laws2030244
Received: 5 July 2013 / Revised: 19 August 2013 / Accepted: 28 August 2013 / Published: 29 August 2013
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (328 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A dramatic rise in arrest rates for girls over the past decade has led to an increasing interest in understanding gender differences in the risk factors that are associated with delinquency. Moreover, the call has been made for the implementation of gender-specific or
[...] Read more.
A dramatic rise in arrest rates for girls over the past decade has led to an increasing interest in understanding gender differences in the risk factors that are associated with delinquency. Moreover, the call has been made for the implementation of gender-specific or gender-responsive interventions in order to effectively divert girls from an antisocial course. However, questions have been raised about three key assumptions underlying the gender-responsive approach to girls involved in the juvenile justice system: is there unequivocal evidence for gender-specificity in the risk factors that contribute to girls’ delinquency; is there clear evidence that existing non-gender-responsive evidence-based interventions for delinquency are less effective for girls than boys; and is there well-grounded evidence that interventions specifically tailored for girls are differentially effective? This article reviews the available research regarding each of these questions and proposes an agenda for future research into the development of effective interventions for juvenile justice-involved girls. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of Juvenile Delinquency)

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