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Labeling Effects of First Juvenile Arrests: Secondary Deviance and Secondary Sanctioning

NCJ Number
248265
Journal
Criminology Volume: 52 Issue: 3 Dated: August 2014 Pages: 345-370
Author(s)
Akiva M. Liberman; David S. Kirk; Kideuk Kim
Date Published
August 2014
Length
26 pages
Annotation
Using longitudinal data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN) together with official arrest records, the current study estimates the effects of first arrests on both reoffending and rearrest.
Abstract
A growing literature suggests that juvenile arrests perpetuate offending and increase the likelihood of future arrests. The effect on subsequent arrests is generally regarded as a product of the perpetuation of criminal offending. However, increased rearrest also may reflect differential law enforcement behavior. Using longitudinal data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN) together with official arrest records, the current study estimates the effects of first arrests on both reoffending and rearrest. Propensity score methods were used to control differences between arrestees and nonarrestees and to minimize selection bias. Among 1,249 PHDCN youths, 58 individuals were first arrested during the study period; 43 of these arrestees were successfully matched to 126 control cases that were equivalent on a broad set of individual, family, peer, and neighborhood factors. The authors found that first arrests increased the likelihood of both subsequent offending and subsequent arrest, through separate processes. The effects on rearrest are substantially greater and are largely independent of the effects on reoffending, which suggests that labels trigger "secondary sanctioning" processes distinct from secondary deviance processes. Attempts to ameliorate deleterious labeling effects should include efforts to dampen their escalating punitive effects on societal responses. (Published Abstract)