Studying Deterrence Among High-Risk Adolescents

Studying Deterrence Among High-Risk Adolescents


Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention


Thomas A. Loughran, Robert Brame, Jeffrey Fagan, Alex R. Piquero, Edward P. Mulvey, Carol A. Schubert

How and why do many serious adolescent offenders stop offending while others continue to commit crimes? This series of bulletins presents findings from the Pathways to Desistance study, a multidisciplinary investigation that attempts to answer this question. Investigators interviewed 1,354 young offenders from Philadelphia and Phoenix for 7 years after their convictions to learn what factors (e.g., individual maturation, life changes, and involvement with the criminal justice system) lead youth who have committed serious offenses to persist in or desist from offending. As a result of these interviews and a review of official records, researchers have collected the most comprehensive dataset available about serious adolescent offenders and their lives in late adolescence and early adulthood. These data provide an unprecedented look at how young people mature out of offending and what the justice system can do to promote positive changes in the lives of these youth.

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