The Effects of Sentencing Juveniles to Long-Term Imprisonment

Simon I. Singer, Northeastern University

This paper reviews the consequences of long-term imprisonment on juveniles. It critically reviews the literature on the effects of imprisonment, and considers the life-course implications of long-term imprisonment for juveniles sentenced as adults. Based on a subcultural theory of imprisonment, I expect that long-term imprisonment increases the chances of juveniles becoming chronic adult offenders. I examine this hypothesis with data on the sentences of a cohort of juveniles sentenced as adults in criminal court for homicides they committed prior to the age of 16. This population is compared with a larger group of juvenile offenders who killed between the ages of 16 and 21. I expect that long-term incarceration has a greater effect on younger juveniles than older juveniles.

(Return to Program Resources)

Updated 05/20/2006