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Young Offenders in Custody: Risk and Adjustment

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior Volume: 32 Issue: 3 Dated: June 2005 Pages: 251-277
Carla Cesaroni; Michele Peterson-Badali
Date Published
June 2005
27 pages
This study examined the relationship between preexisting risk factors and/or institutional risk factors and the adjustment of young offenders in custody.
In exploring the question of whether there are characteristics of young offenders that correlates with their psychosocial, as well as institutional adjustment while in custody, this study explored the relationship between a number of risk factors, both those that young offenders bring with them to custody and those that are custody-specific and psychosocial and institutional adjustment in custody. The authors were interested in whether risk factors that have been identified in the developmental psychopathology literature as prediction poor developmental outcomes for youth in a broad variety of domains would also correlate with problematic psychosocial and institutional adjustment of youth in custody. The study consisted of 113 male youth, age 12 to 15. Eleven facilities in Southern Ontario, Canada were included in the study. Results indicate that internalizing scores increased as a function of the number of preexisting risks by young offenders. The results are also consistent with the idea that young people who have already experienced multiple developmental risks will be more adversely affected by the custody experience. In addition, the results indicate that risk factors specifically associated with institutional life contribute to how a young person adjusts to custody above and beyond the preexisting risk with which a young person enters a facility. References