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Violence and Drug Use in Juvenile Institutions

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 27 Issue: 1 Dated: January-February 1999 Pages: 33-44
J M MacDonald
Date Published
12 pages
Data from two samples of juveniles paroled from California Youth Authority institutions were used to examine an integrated model of selected importation and deprivation factors on juvenile inmate acts of violence and drug use.
The deprivation theory of inmate subculture asserts that the conditions of confinement have a direct influence on inmate behavior, whereas the importation theory explains inmate behavior through inmates' socialization and cultural experiences prior to prison. The study used both individual and aggregate measures on a randomly selected cross-section of 1,998 male juvenile offenders released from youth facilities in 1981-82 and 1,997 male juvenile offenders released in 1986-87. Data were collected on the youths' prior criminal histories, personal and family characteristics, institutional behavior, and dispositions. The dependent variables measuring misconduct were the officially recorded violent and drug offense infractions. Results of logistic regression analyses revealed that both importation and deprivation factors influenced inmate violent misconduct. the length of criminal involvement, prior gang involvement, and history of violence or drugs all contributed to explaining their violent institutional behavior. The results did not support an integrated model in explaining drug misconduct, but were suggestive of a model that integrates both importation and deprivation theories in explaining inmate maladjustment. Tables, notes, and 38 references (Author abstract modified)