This study identifies longitudinal patterns of institutional placement to understand experiences in the juvenile justice system. We used monthly calendar data from the Pathways to Desistance study (N = 1,354), which focuses on understanding how serious adolescent offenders desist from antisocial activity. Youth between 14 and 18 years of age were followed for 7 years. We used group-based trajectory modeling to identify longitudinal patterns of institutional placement. We also examined bivariate and multivariate associations between our identified groups and demographic, legal, and extralegal factors. We chose the 4-group solution, which reflected a pattern of steady time in the community (33.3%), and three patterns of youth spending varying (22.5%), declining (24.4%), and steady high (18.8%) time in placement. Significant differences between groups suggest that youth from the most disadvantaged contexts and those who were most likely to have trouble in school and live in disorganized neighborhoods spent the most time in placement.

JoAnn S. Lee, Faye S. Taxman, Edward P. Mulvey, Carol A. Schubert
Criminal Justice and Behavior, April 5, 2018