Structural Components and Recidivism: An Examination of Juvenile Offending Among Serious and Status Offenders

Nancy Rodriguez, Arizona State University - West

A growing body of literature has identified the important role that structural variables have on criminal activity. This study attempts to examine the effect of individual, case, and contextual variables on juvenile offending. By using 1996 through 2000 data on youth referred to the Maricopa County Juvenile Courts, legal, extralegal, and contextual variables are used to explain recidivism rates among felony and status offenders. Findings reveal that contextual components, specifically, racial heterogeneity has a significant impact on subsequent juvenile offending. Findings also show that youth residing in low-income areas are more likely to recidivate than youth residing in middle-income neighborhoods. Implications for future research are presented and discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006