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Assaults in Juvenile Correctional Facilities: An Exploratory Study

NCJ Number
Journal of Crime and Justice Volume: 30 Issue: 1 Dated: 2007 Pages: 17-34
John P. Vivian; Jennifer N. Grimes; Stella Vasquez
Date Published
18 pages
This study explored the various factors surrounding injury assaults involving youth detained in the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections (ADJC).
The authors conclude that more attention should be devoted to the study of violence in juvenile correction facilities because of the negative effects on rehabilitative efforts. The study examined 10,985 injury assaults reported by the ADJC and found that for calendar year 2003 the monthly assault rate nearly doubled (85 percent) from the monthly assault rate in the previous period for which reliable data were available. The study also found that: a disproportionate number of assaults occurred in certain locations, most often in dayrooms/lounge halls (36 percent) or youth rooms (21 percent) than elsewhere in the facilities; fewer assaults occurred when youth were in school; the assault category that experience the largest increase was staff assaulted by youth; and that both individual and contextual factors combine to contribute to institutional violence. The individual factors used to predict an incident escalating to injury assault were: 1) the incident involved a juvenile with a high number of referrals to separation; 2) the juvenile had been involved had two or more prior assault offenses; and 3) the juvenile had mental instabilities. The contextual factors were: 1) placing juveniles in housing units with high separation rates; and 2) placing juveniles in housing units with high assault rates. Tables, figure, notes and references