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Determinants of Disruption: Institutional Misconduct Among State-Committed Delinquents

NCJ Number
Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice: An Interdisciplinary Journal Volume: 5 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2007 Pages: 7-34
Chad R. Trulson
Date Published
January 2007
28 pages
This study explored the factors related to institutional misconduct among nearly 5,000 State-committed juvenile delinquents released from a large Southern juvenile correctional system.
Results indicated that juvenile delinquents most likely to commit institutional infractions consistent with being an institutional danger (assaulting staff and residents and weapons possession) were more likely to be male, non-White, have a gang influence, and have earlier, more extensive, and more serious delinquency histories. The findings for institutional disruption were similar except for the fact that race, sex, and gang influence did not significantly predict this type of institutional misconduct. Few of the variables were able to significantly predict institutional misconduct among female juvenile delinquents. Thus, the factors that impact delinquent boys appear to be different from the factors that impact delinquent girls. Juvenile corrections agencies would do well to undertake further studies of the factors influencing juvenile institutional misconduct so that interventions can be designed to change the likely trajectories for youth. The study drew on the official criminal and institutional data of 4,686 youth released from their first incarceration in a large Southern juvenile correctional system during 1997-1998 and 2003-2004. Two measures of institutional misconduct were analyzed: institutional danger and institutional disruption. Descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression models were used to determine the impact of various demographic variables, delinquent history variables, and risk factor variables on the likelihood of institutional danger and institutional disruption. Future research should focus on the factors influencing the institutional misconduct of female juvenile delinquents. Tables, appendixes, notes, references