Of 390 youths, 81 committed another crime over two-year period, according to report.

Last updated: June 13. 2013 12:17AM - 3456 Views

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Recidivism is defined as a subsequent delinquency adjudication – when a judge finds a juvenile guilty of a crime – or as being convicted in criminal court for either a misdemeanor or felony offense within two years of a previous case being closed.

Statistics according to the report on juvenile recidivism rates:

• 90 percent of juveniles who committed a second offense were males.

• Males were almost three times as likely to recidivate than females.

• One in four black offenders re-offended, while one in six white offenders recidivated.

• 80 percent of juveniles who committed another crime were from “disrupted” family situations (i.e. parents deceased, parents were never married or divorces).

• Drug offenders and property offenders were most likely to commit the same types of crimes when they re-offended.

• 70 percent of juveniles committed a misdemeanor offense when they re-offended.

• Juveniles who committed an indecent exposure crime recidivated at higher rates than any other sex offenders.

• Six percent of juveniles with a 2007 closed case were serious offenders and 34 percent of violent offenders recidivated.

• 14 percent of juveniles with a 2007 closed case were chronic offenders, and 37 percent of chronic offenders recidivated.

In a report released Tuesday by the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission, Luzerne County is in line with the state average recidivism rate for juveniles who are likely to commit a second crime.

According to the report, one in five juveniles – 20 percent - committed another crime within two years of their 2007 case being closed; Luzerne County had a rate of 21 percent.

The study used cases closed in 2007 and tracked the following two years because they were cases not affected by a newly implemented Juvenile Justice System Enhancement Strategy – an effort to reduce the rate of recidivism. The strategy began in 2010.

According to the report, 390 juveniles from Luzerne County made up the 21 percent of cases closed in 2007 due to a degree of guilt, by either being found guilty, pleading guilty or entering a no-contest plea.

Of those, 81 committed another crime over the two-year period.

“Juvenile crime is a serious problem in the United States,” the report states. “Not only does it affect the quality of life for our communities’ citizens, it also produces a financial burden for society.”

The report also states that through research and evidence, a strong relationship exists between juvenile offenders eventually becoming adult offenders.

In 2007, 18,882 juveniles had been under the supervision of a county juvenile probation department and had their cases closed after completing required conditions. Within two years, the report states, 3,827 juveniles were either found guilty or convicted of a new misdemeanor or felony offense.

The factors looked at in the report of those juveniles that committed another crime included age, gender, race/ethnicity, drug/alcohol abuse, family factors, school factors, peer factors and involvement in the juvenile justice system.

Clarion County had the highest recidivism rate – 45 percent – while two counties had no recidivism rate – Clinton and Sullivan counties, according to the report.

Other counties similar in size to Luzerne, classified as Class 3 counties, had about the same or a little higher recidivism rates, ranging from 28 percent to 10 percent.

The report also outlines that the average length of time it took a juvenile to commit another crime was 11.5 months and that those juveniles who were youngest during their first offense were more likely to commit a second offense.

The report stresses not to compare recidivism rates of individual counties or individual service providers due to the impact of expunged cases and other factors. An expungement is when a first-time offender can have his or her criminal record wiped clean after a certain time period.

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