Recidivism Among Juveniles Released From the Texas Youth Commission in 1997 and 1998

Janet L. Mullings, Sam Houston State University
James W. Marquart, Sam Houston State University
Chad Trulson, Sam Houston State University

The study of post-release behavior among prisoners has been an important area of inquiry for researchers since the mid-nineteenth century. Understanding why and how some released offender's return to correctional settings as a result of new contacts with the criminal justice system has immense practical and theoretical value. This is especially the case concerning juvenile offenders. The objective of this study is to determine the level of recidivism among juveniles released from the Texas Youth Commission in 1997 and 1998. The primary focus of this analysis is on the time to recidivism within thirty-six months of release from TYC and the factors associated with that. A recidivist is defined as any individual who has been convicted for a prior offense, confined to a Texas Youth Commission facility, and who was rearrested during the follow-up period. In other words we are interested in the time lapse between release and a proven re-arrest. A series of related dimensions are also explored in the paper, including the nature and characteristics of recidivism, degree to which selected case variables like gang membership and child abuse predict failure, and the timing of new offenses following release.

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Updated 05/20/2006