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Violent and Chronic Juvenile Crime

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1989
To determine the careers of violent and chronic juvenile offenders in Minnesota, this study followed the official delinquency patterns of 53 violent juveniles for 2 years through court records in Hennepin County; a sample of habitual juvenile offenders was monitored in the same manner.

Juveniles in the samples were under 15 years old. The study found that juveniles who began their delinquent activity by committing serious assaults had a 62-percent chance of being returned to juvenile court in the 2-year followup period because of a new offense. They were unlikely to be charged with another violent crime, however. Juveniles whose first known offense was a sexual assault were much less likely (27 percent) to return to court. Type of court intervention did not apparently have a significant impact on the likelihood of a violent juvenile returning to court. Of the chronic but nonviolent juveniles (those who committed at least three previous offenses), 57 percent were found delinquent for a new criminal offense in the 2-year followup. Court intervention apparently had little effect on the likelihood of continued delinquency. The study advises that proposals to provide extensive expansion of the treatment or incarceration of first-time offenders do not return to court for any offense, and repeated sex offenses are rare among those who return to court. Because of the lack of success of current methods to deter chronic juvenile offenders, this study recommends that the juvenile court explore a broader range of alternatives for rehabilitation and close supervision. 5 tables and 12 references

Date Published: January 1, 1989