Assessing the Impact of Juvenile Justice Contact on High School Dropping Out: A Quasi-Experimental Strategy

Paul J. Hirschfield, Rutgers University - New Brunswick

A neglected topic in criminology is the impact of juvenile justice intervention on school performance. Utilizing a large sampling pool of inner-city youth and a quasi-experimental design known as staggered replication, the analysis compares the odds of dropping out of a first-time arrest population in grade nine to other ninth graders who are first arrested during the subsequent grade. The logistic regression results suggest that first arrests, especially when followed by subsequent arrests, greatly increases the odds of dropping out, net of selection factors. These findings provide further evidence that expanded criminal justice involvement may weaken the attachment of youth to conventional institutions and, consequently, the social control capacity of these institutions.

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Updated 05/20/2006