"You Play, You Stay": Potential Unintended Punitive Consequences of Indeterminate Sentencing in the Juvenile Justice System

Greg Lindsteadt, Indiana University
Roger Jarjoura, Indiana University - Indianapolis
Daniel Richard King, University of Maryland at College Park

The adjudication of youth to a facility until the determination that 'social fitness' is gained has long been the accepted means of state juvenile commitment in the U.S. Historically, the indeterminate sentencing of our youth has fit equally well during periods of rehabilitative or punitive trends in American criminal justice. The indeterminate sentencing of youth also serves the administration of a facility by governing behavior of juveniles through the openly touted relationship between conduct within the facility and freedom. This paper will examine the relationship between youth behavior within the institution and post-release arrests, convictions, and incarcerations, controlling for prior legal referrals, length of stay in the facility and individual demographic information. Youth and adult records were collected from a population of juveniles committed to one juvenile facility in Central Indiana during 1997-1999, some of whom participated in a juvenile atercare program. We will also examine the role of aftercare programming in interpreting and controlling this relationship.

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Updated 05/20/2006