The Prevalence and Correlates of Involvement in the Criminal Justice System Among Youth on the Autism Spectrum

Abstract

This study examined the prevalence and correlates of involvement in the criminal justice system among a nationally representative sample of youth with autism. We examined whether youth had been stopped and questioned by police or arrested at 14–15 years old and 21–22 years old. By age 21, approximately 20% of youth with autism had been stopped and questioned by police and nearly 5% had been arrested. Female youth were less likely to be involved in the criminal justice system, whereas youth displaying externalizing behaviors were more likely to be involved in the criminal justice system. Further research is needed to investigate factors associated with involvement in the criminal justice system among youth with autism and to implement prevention strategies.

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Author Contributions

JAR conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, performed statistical analysis and interpretation of the data, and drafted the manuscript; PS conceived the study, participated in the design and coordination of the data, and helped draft the manuscript; JER participated in the design of the study, performed statistical analysis and helped draft the manuscript; AR participated in the design and coordination of the study and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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This study did not receive funding.

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Correspondence to Julianna Rava.

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Julianna Rava declares that she has no conflict of interest. Paul Shattuck declares that he has no conflict of interest. Jessica Rast declares that she has no conflict of interest. Anne Roux declares that she has no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Rava, J., Shattuck, P., Rast, J. et al. The Prevalence and Correlates of Involvement in the Criminal Justice System Among Youth on the Autism Spectrum. J Autism Dev Disord 47, 340–346 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-2958-3

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Keywords

  • Autism
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Transition-age youth
  • Criminal justice involvement
  • Risk factors
  • Prevalence