Predictors of recidivism in a predominantly Hispanic sample of first-time juvenile offenders
Prior studies have identified risk factors that predict recidivism among serious and chronic juvenile offenders. The current study was conducted to identify risk factors in a related but much larger group—first time juvenile offenders. The aim was to develop a risk assessment tool that could identify (a) high-risk juveniles when they are first referred to the juvenile justice system, so that they can be targeted for intervention, and (b) low-risk juveniles who probably do not need intervention. Participants in the study were 321 first-time juvenile offenders at the El Paso Juvenile Probation Department (EPJPD). Eighty-nine percent of the juveniles were Hispanic. Data on potential risk factors and criminal recidivism were collected from juveniles' case files, a computer database maintained by EPJPD, Child Protective Services records, and data from the National Crime Information Center. Twenty-one predictors were identified that significantly correlated with recidivism in the entire sample of 321 juveniles or in a subsample. These predictors were used to create an experimental instrument, the El Paso Risk Assessment for Juveniles at Intake (El Paso RAJI). Juveniles' total scores on the RAJI correlated r = .410, p < .001, with any recidivism within one year following intake (Area Under the Curve = .793). Based on RAJI scores, the juveniles were assigned to six Risk Levels. Juveniles in the highest risk level had a recidivism rate of 37.9% whereas those in the lowest risk level had a recidivism rate of 0%. The El Paso RAJI is likely to prove useful for identifying juveniles at intake who have the highest and lowest risks of recidivism, although future research is necessary to cross-validate the present findings.
Behavioral psychology|Criminology|Hispanic American studies
Valenzuela, Yvette, "Predictors of recidivism in a predominantly Hispanic sample of first-time juvenile offenders" (2011). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1494495.