Is the effect of justice system attitudes on recidivism stable after youths' first arrest? race and legal socialization among first-time youth offenders

Adam Fine, Caitlin Cavanagh, Sachiko Donley, Paul J. Frick, Laurence Steinberg, Elizabeth Cauffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Youth who hold negative attitudes toward the justice system are more likely to engage in crime. It is particularly important to study attitudes early in someone's criminal career when they may still be open to change. To date, however, there has been no empirical test assessing whether the relation between attitudes and behavior changes after a first arrest. Using a sample of 1,216 first-time, male, juvenile offenders from the Crossroads Study, the present study explored: (a) racial/ethnic differences in the longitudinal patterns of youths' attitudes; and (b) reciprocal associations between youths' attitudes and both their offending behavior and rearrests in the 2.5 years after their first arrest. The results indicated that White youths' attitudes remained largely stable, Black youths' attitudes became more negative, and Latino youths' attitudes became more negative but only among Latino youth who reoffended. Although the results indicated that youths' attitudes were related to both offending and rearrest, the bidirectional relation between attitudes and offending weakened across time. After 2.5 years after their first arrest, attitudes no longer predicted offending or rearrests. These novel findings suggest that a youth's first contact is likely the most impactful. When it comes to young offenders' interactions with the justice system, first impressions matter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-158
Number of pages13
JournalLaw and Human Behavior
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes

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Socialization
Social Justice
socialization
offender
justice
Hispanic Americans
Offenders
Justice
study attitude
juvenile offender
Crime
career
offense
contact

Keywords

  • justice system legitimacy
  • legal socialization
  • procedural justice
  • race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law

Cite this

Is the effect of justice system attitudes on recidivism stable after youths' first arrest? race and legal socialization among first-time youth offenders. / Fine, Adam; Cavanagh, Caitlin; Donley, Sachiko; Frick, Paul J.; Steinberg, Laurence; Cauffman, Elizabeth.

In: Law and Human Behavior, Vol. 41, No. 2, 04.2017, p. 146-158.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Fine, Adam ; Cavanagh, Caitlin ; Donley, Sachiko ; Frick, Paul J. ; Steinberg, Laurence ; Cauffman, Elizabeth. / Is the effect of justice system attitudes on recidivism stable after youths' first arrest? race and legal socialization among first-time youth offenders. In: Law and Human Behavior. 2017 ; Vol. 41, No. 2. pp. 146-158.
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