Juvenile Delinquency and the Concept of Recidivism 

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In this research, Juvenile and recidivism are analyzed to show how social bonds play a key factor in the recidivism of juveniles. We will cross-tabulate Juvenile delinquency and recidivism, in hopes of it revealing delinquency, community, family and a host of other underlying elements as being reasons why juveniles are more prone to recommitting crimes after detention and from being or lack of being rehabilitated. Juveniles and recidivism should closely resemble a high rate of recidivism regarding race, class, gender, and locations dependent upon where the juveniles live. Juveniles reoffending can be based on education and schooling, by preparing youth for prison. The likelihood of juveniles reoffending will depend on prior offenses and other surrounding factors that lead juveniles to make a decision of criminality.


According to the Department of Justice, juvenile delinquency is a repeated action of criminal offenses, that is committed by a young person under the age of 18, the crime was not committed by an adult. Along with Juvenile delinquency, Recidivism is the inclination of a convicted criminal to reoffend (2018). The likelihood of a juvenile to re-offend could be based on poverty, mental health, education and whether or not detentions rehabilitate juveniles. This research paper will show a cross-tabulation between juvenile delinquency and recidivism and how the two variables correlate with other common elements that lead to offenses by young people. The purpose of this research is to reveal, how elements can lead to juvenile delinquency, and how juvenile delinquency alone is not the only delineating factor in repetitive crimes. Being that Juveniles commit crimes when they are young, the likelihood of them reoffending is determined by our research.

Literature Review

The article “Adolescent Neglect, Juvenile Delinquency, and the Risk of Recidivism” hypothesizes the effects of adolescent neglect and its correlation between juvenile delinquency. The author poses this question: Does the neglect of adolescents lead to repeat offending in juvenile delinquency? To find the answer, the author conducted a study. The study performed contained a broad number of demographics including females, Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans. The data sources that were used in this study included the records of neglect from child protection services as well as the number of high-risk offenders that were screened during this specific time (Ryan, Williams, & Courtney, 2013). These data sources were used to analyze the author’s hypothesis and the individuals chosen to be a part of the study were tasked with determining the validity of the hypothesis. The measures used in this study were family, education, peers, alcohol and drugs, individual attitudes and beliefs, neglect, and recidivism. These measures were used to assess the risk factors that may or may not be associated with them. The result of this study showed that juvenile delinquents with cases of neglect that are active or pending are more susceptible to recidivism which is the result of their lack of familial support (Ryan et al, 2013). This article concludes that neglect and juvenile delinquency have a direct correlation which leads to recidivism.

The article “The Effect of Neighborhood Characteristics and Spatial Spillover on Urban Juvenile Delinquency and Recidivism” provides a theory for juvenile delinquency and recidivism by exploring the effects of neighborhood characteristics as a cause of delinquency. The author conducted a study using data that explain the neighborhoods’ socioeconomic status, collective efficacy, reports of crime in each neighborhood and data that examines spatial spillover in these neighborhoods (Mennis, Harris, Obradovic, Izenman, Grunwald & Lockwood, 2011). The measures used in this study include; crime, recidivism, juvenile delinquency, and neighborhoods. These accounts for the variables that make up the study conducted by the author. To understand the relationship between neighborhoods, delinquency, and recidivism, the authors used a method that allows the variables to work as indicators when estimating the rates of delinquency and recidivism. First, these variables were measured separately to understand the individual effects which later help gain a broad understanding of how these variables work violence and poverty tend to produce a high concentration of recidivism among juveniles. together (Mennis et al, 2011). This article concluded that neighborhoods with high rates of

The article, “Decriminalizing Delinquency: The Effect of Raising the Age of Majority on Juvenile Recidivism”, is an empirical study performed to analyze the effects that raising the juvenile age has on recidivism. Arguments for the age rise agree that the expansion results in the decrease of crime, however, opponents of this legislative change challenges this belief by arguing that it ultimately reduces deterrence. To examine these effects, the author used data that depicts recidivism in 17 year old arrestees who were affected by the law change and compares their findings to data that reflects 16 to 18 year old arrestees who were not affected by the law change. Other data consisted of 22,779 misdemeanor arrests of juveniles ranging in age from 16-18. (Loeffler & Grunwald, 2015). This study’s research design is based on prior research and studies, in which this study is an expansion. Also, this study relies on information received from prior control groups collected from other states to analyze its currently individual-level data. The measured used in this study are minors, juvenile court, recidivism, criminal arrest, and violence crimes (Loefflet et al, 2015 ). The overall conclusion from this study shows that there is no precise statistical effect that they change in legislative has on recidivism.

The article, “Community Disadvantage, Prosocial Bonds, and Juvenile Reoffending: A Multilevel Mediation Analysis”, uses the social control theory to analyze the theoretical disadvantages on juvenile behavior. This theory, among other theoretical methods, show whether prosocial bonds work as a mechanism for juvenile delinquency and its relationship to recidivism. This data for this study was comprised of 131,261 community placements from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (FDJJ) as well as information from the Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT) that shows 87% of those who were placed in community placement were also using the risk and need assessment provided by PACT (Link, Ward, Stansfield, 2019). The measures used in this study are prosocial bonds, recidivism, community-based placement, and juvenile delinquency. The author designed its research and findings using a logistic method with multiple levels to understand the similarities between youth living within the same community. Also, this method shows the differences in individual recidivism based on certain characteristics (Link et al, 2019). The sample for this study included 20,000 juvenile offenders and the author found that prosocial relationships and activities directly affect the disadvantages perpetuated by juvenile recidivism (Link et al, 2019)

The article, “Predicting Recidivism for Released State Prison Offenders: Examining the Influence of Individual and Neighborhood Characteristics and Spatial Contagion on the Likelihood of Reincarceration” examines the correlation between offenders’ neighborhood characteristics and recidivism. The sample size included 5,354 state prisoners released from a Pennsylvania prison. The measures used in this study are neighborhood characteristics, reincarceration, drug involvement, and offense type. The author concluded that drugs, violence, and certain neighborhood characteristics are some of the direct risk factors of recidivism (Stahler, Mennis, Belenko, Welsh, Hiller & Zajac, 2013). It is important to understand how one’s environment and community influence their chances of initial incarceration and reincarceration.

Theoretical Framework


Question: Does the Environment/Community participate in the recidivism of juvenile delinquency? If we know why juveniles are recommitting crimes then why don't we take the appropriate steps to prevent it, by looking at all contributing factors?

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While understanding that recidivism is a problem within the community and in society, prior components inclines to why a juvenile commits a crime or not, social bond theory is an individual's viewpoint on society, these social bonds are weakened or broken resulting in attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief, it is the reason why juveniles are more prone to engage in criminal activity and what components contribute to the criminal activity. Finding factors are; family, school and education, social class, Communities in which the juvenile lives, workplace, society and mental health (competency). According to Intravia and Hirschi In his seminal work ‘‘Causes of Delinquency,’’ Hirschi argued that delinquency is more likely to occur when an individual’s bond to society is weak or broken. Specifically, the more strongly adolescents are bonded to the prosocial elements of society—which include attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief—the more inhibited they will be from engaging in delinquent acts (Intravia, 2019).

Independent/Dependent Variables

While researching Juvenile Delinquency and Recidivism, it is important to understand the different variables that are measured throughout the study. Many independent variables that affect the outcome of juvenile delinquency and repeat offending, including socioeconomic status, education background, familial relationships, and substance abuse. These variables will be used to analyze the role that an individual’s environment and community play in juvenile recidivism. This coincides with the aforementioned social bond theory and will work as the basis for the research conducted throughout this paper.

The Null Hypothesis would be that Juvenile delinquency and recidivism do not correlate with one another. Ensuring that elements such as social class, poverty, financial barriers, gender, juveniles prior are null factors in determining why juveniles are reoffending, even though this is the null hypothesis and will be ruled out, this factor shows a possible measurable effect of both variables that do not show a measurable correlation. It will be measured based upon the hypothesis relating that community and environment playing a key role in the recidivism of juveniles. An Alternative hypothesis is the impact or non-impact of corrective response on juvenile delinquency that will contribute to their recidivism.

Our alternative hypothesis is the impact or non-impact of corrective response on Juvenile delinquency that will contribute to their recidivism. According to J.P Bouveland the Impact of Corrective Response on Juvenile Recidivism, the study within this research separated males and females from 2 different decades and years. This study was a sociological study of young persons. The research measured males and females from 1985 and males and females from 1996. In both decades it indicated that both men and women are disproportionately represented, regarding age. It also stated that recidivism between men and women in 1985 is 63.5% more likely to reoffend and the numbers were almost the same between both genders, although women's recidivism rate is lower. In 1996 women remained the same but men were significantly higher than women with by 62.2 %. Although its lower than 10 years prior, it remains higher than women.

Data Analysis

Research Strategy

This research requires us to implement the research question “Does the environment or community participate in the recidivism of juvenile delinquency?” into a strategy. In this research, we used secondary data to compare, confirm or deny our findings. Data was collected from a standardized data collection of 38,624 cases within 3 years from 15 prison states in 1994 (1994-1997) including North Carolina. This study was conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. It is the first study of recidivism amongst released prisoners. Prisoners were released in 1994. This research also implemented; race, class, sex, age, crime, and the time of the crime, to figure out why offenders re-offend.

The chart above gives an approximate percentage of prisoners that reoffend in the month or year(s) span of the study from 1994 to 1997. Based on the information referenced from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, race, age, sex, class, and numerous others are elements that affect offender. Formerly incarcerated offenders are subjected to elements or factors that contribute to the recidivism of prisoners. Although this research was based upon adults that were between the ages of 20 and 35, this study is compared to juveniles, because the adults could be the parents to the young offenders. The reoffenses of a young individual are based on their environment in which they live, age sex, education are all contributing factors to the recidivism of a young person. Just as easily as an adult is to re-offend based on their environment, their children can easily be subjected to the criminality of that environment as well. The social bonds are weakened due to the environment in which the juvenile or adult may live.

Sampling Strategy

The data chosen for this research paper was a study done by Lin Jeffrey about the impact of recidivism of juvenile delinquency. The sample used within this data set was collected by the Family Court systems in each of the five boroughs of New York State. The units were observed on an individual basis and the examination of this data occurred during April, Mary, and June of 2000. According to the Data Completeness Report provided by the study “Impact of Institutional Placement on the Recidivism of Delinquent Youth in New York City”, there was a total of 837 juvenile cases that had been identified during this data collection, however, only 736 of these cases had files that were located (Lin, 2009). Out of these 736 located cases, there were 38 cases with incarceration rates that did not correspond with the information observed from the other examined cases. Therefore, these cases were excluded and the final dataset had a total of 638 cases (Lin, 2009).

Data Collection Strategy

The primary data used to analyze Juvenile Delinquency and Recidivism in this research paper comes from a study done by Jeffrey Lin of New York University called “Impact of Institutional Placement on the Recidivism of Delinquent Youth in New York City”. The main sources of information used for this dataset include Probation Investigation and Recommendation reports, Probation Intake reports, Mental Health reports, school records, court records, and New York Police Department arrest records.

The data collection instrument used in this case study was a questionnaire survey. This questionnaire included initial intake information, current offense information, legal history, current/most recent family environment, past family environment, school, community and peer relationships, health concerns, level of responsibility, and post-arrest change in attitude/behavior (Lin, 2009). Each section of this questionnaire represents the variables of the study and when analyzed they will further explain the relationship between juvenile delinquency and recidivism. The table below shows the Data Completeness Report collected from the data set. This table includes information about the missing variable reported in the data set.


The conclusion of this dataset analysis shows that the most vital variables surrounding the relationship between juvenile delinquency and recidivism are family/peer interaction and conflict, participation in school, work and activities as well as their aspirational values (Lin, 2009). Whether juveniles repeatedly offend depends on how positive or negative these variables influence them. The main finding of this data is that placement does not seem to have a significant impact on recidivism. By placement, the author means that the child is taken away from their parents or legal guardian and sent to a “placement home”. This dataset showed that variables such as socio-economic environment and familial and peer influences have a greater effect on the relationship between juvenile delinquency and recidivism.


After analyzing our data set, we found that several variables impact juvenile delinquency. How each of these variables affects the individual child results in whether or not they will re-enter the criminal justice system. To prevent juvenile recidivism, we have to understand how one’s social bonds can affect their criminal behavior and criminal minds. Throughout the research process, we found that we were able to support our hypothesis which says that the environment and community participate in the recidivism of juvenile delinquency. Future researchers can use this present research to help support and answer our secondary question which asked, “if we know why juveniles are recommitting crimes then why don't we take the appropriate steps to prevent it, by looking at all contributing factors”? We conclude that juvenile delinquency is significantly affected by recidivism and our social bonds are factors that strengthen this relationship.

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