Examining the Presenting Characteristics, Short-Term Effects, and Long-Term Outcomes Associated with System-Involved Youths

  • Melanie TaylorEmail author
  • Philip Mulvey
  • Kristan Russell
  • Brice Terpstra
Part of the Advances in Psychology and Law book series (APL, volume 3)


System-involved juveniles vary in their presenting problems and later life outcomes in comparison to nondelinquent juveniles. This chapter explores the initial disparities between delinquents and nondelinquents; short-term outcomes of those who were processed through the juvenile justice system; and later life outcomes of system-involved youths in adulthood. Consideration is given to the theoretical explanations of delinquent behaviors. Labeling theory, among the most notable explanations of delinquency, posits that contact with the juvenile justice system stigmatizes juveniles and results in continued criminality. The life course theory is then examined, as it explores pathways to deviancy and crime desistance, with a particular focus on the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Finally, emerging research on developmental science and maturation of adolescents is examined. The chapter then examines disparities between delinquents and nondelinquents in regard to mental health, substance abuse, and suicidal behaviors. Several long-term outcomes for delinquents are then explored, including dropping out of high school, the school-to-prison pipeline, educational (i.e., high school and college) outcomes, recidivism patterns for various types of delinquents, increased record exposure, limited employment opportunities, and decreased relationship prospects. This section concludes with an examination of long-term mental health outcomes of former delinquents, with a focus on the persistence of mental illness and increased likelihood of suicide following detention. The chapter concludes with several avenues for future research and policy implications.


Juvenile justice Juvenile delinquency Developmental science Adolescent reentry Desistance 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melanie Taylor
    • 1
    Email author
  • Philip Mulvey
    • 2
  • Kristan Russell
    • 3
  • Brice Terpstra
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Criminal JusticeUniversity of Nevada, RenoRenoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Criminal Justice SciencesIllinois State UniversityNormalUSA
  3. 3.Interdisciplinary Social Psychology PhD ProgramUniversity of Nevada, RenoRenoUSA

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