Do Differences in Juvenile Justice Systems' Processing Affect Subsequent Delinquency? A Comparison of the U.S. and Germany

Karl F. Schumann, University of Bremen
Beate Ehret, University of Bremen
David Huizinga, University of Colorado at Boulder
Amanda Elliott, University of Colorado at Boulder

The Juvenile Justice Systems in the U.S. and Germany are quite differently constructed. In Germany offenders aged 14 up to the age of 20 are, predominately, rather leniently sanctioned based on juvenile law, while in the U.S. the "get tough" approach of the eighties has led to a more punitive orientation toward persons aged 10 through 18 (e.g. waiver to criminal court). Based on data of two longitudinal studies (Denver Youth Survey and Bremen School-to-Work-Study) the arrest patterns at both sites, as well as the sanctioning structure during the ages 14 through 24, will be described to determine whether the law in use is indeed different (as the law in the books would suggest). Thereafter, using multivariate analyses, the effect of different styles of reaction by the two juvenile justice systems on subsequent offending prevalence and frequency will be examined.

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Updated 05/20/2006