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Long-Term Consequences of Delinquency: Child Maltreatment and Crime in Early Adulthood

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2009
112 pages
This study tracked a sample of delinquent boys and girls (n=999) from ages 16 to 28, in order to determine the long-term consequences of juvenile delinquency as measured by arrests and the perpetration of child maltreatment as young adults.
The vast majority of the youth became involved in the adult criminal justice system. Eighty-nine percent of boys and 81 percent of girls were rearrested; 83 percent of boys and 63 percent of girls were rearrested on felony charges; 85 percent of boys and 68 percent of girls were convicted. Both male and female models identified two high-rate offending groups who were responsible for a disproportionate amount of arrests. For both sexes, youth who were younger at first juvenile arrest were more likely than other youth to be in a high-offending adult arrest group. They were also more likely than their later starting delinquent peers to engage in both crime and the perpetration of child maltreatment as adults. For boys, their childhood maltreatment predicted adult perpetration of child maltreatment, but not participation in crime. Boys with sexual abuse histories were more likely than other boys to perpetrate child abuse and neglect as adults. Prior receipt of child preventive, protective, or foster care services increased the likelihood that both boys and girls would follow a high-rate criminal offending path and increased the likelihood the girls would be confirmed perpetrators of child maltreatment. All sample members (499 girls and 500 boys) were monitored after their release from juvenile correction facilities/programs in New York State in the early 1990s. State administrative databases provided information on involvement with the criminal justice system and child protective services as adults. 22 tables, 5 figures, 117 references, and appended construct definitions

Date Published: March 1, 2009