Disruption of High School Education by Arrest and Court Involvement

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Juvenile Justice
Sweeten, Gary. (2006). Who Will Graduate? Disruption of High School Education by Arrest and Court Involvement. Justice Quarterly, 23(4), 462-491.

There has been little research assessing the effects of juvenile justice involvement during high school on educational outcomes. The article uses the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and assesses the effects of first-time arrest and court involvement during high school on educational attainment. Unlike other studies about this issue, a national representative sample was used. Regions of the country, areas within the regions, and households were randomly chosen. The sample consisted of youths below age 16, but in high school. Arrest and court involvement self-reports were drawn from the subsequent two years, and dropout was measured three years after the initial measurement of background characteristics. 4,432 people sampled were age-eligible, but, after youth below the poverty level and juveniles who had been arrested prior to the beginning of higher school were dropped from the sample, the final sample size was 2,501.

Subjects were asked about participation in six kinds of offending: intentional destruction of property, theft of items worth under $50, theft of items worth greater than $50 (including automobiles), other property crimes, attacking someone with serious intent to hurt them, and selling illegal drugs. Delinquency involvement was measured on a scale of zero to six, indicating how many of those six activities those youths participated in. The effects of arrest and juvenile court involvement were studied, and it is important to note that juveniles falling under juvenile court involvement include those arrested.

The study found that first-time arrest during high school nearly doubled the odds of high school dropout, while a court appearance nearly quadrupled the odds of high school dropout. Interestingly, 92% of...
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