Reducing Juvenile Reoffending by Understanding Factors Contributing to Intention to Reoffend

Sumitra Vignaendra, Ammata Viravong, Grevis Beard, Andrew McGrath

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The New South Wales Government has made explicit its aim to reduce reoffending by 10 per cent by 2014. Contributing to the knowledge base on reoffending will help government agencies and other groups to provide adequately targeted interventions to help achieve this aim. This article looks at reoffending through the prism of intention to reoffend. It therefore moves away from procedural definitions of reoffending (e.g. arrest rate or reconviction rate) that, among other limitations, are subject to the changing policies and practices of local law enforcement agencies. Intention to reoffend also identifies a subgroup of recidivists who might be different from other recidivists in significant ways. Declared intention to reoffend was captured during interviews with young offenders (using close-ended questions) 0 to 45 days after the index sentence. The question revealed a subgroup of recidivists whose reoffending was characterised by feelings of disenfranchisement ' they were more likely than other offenders in the cohort to be disengaged from teachers and parents; to be frequent binge drinkers; to have friends who all used illicit drugs; and to have parents who punished by slapping or hitting. Further to this, being sentenced to custody did not deter intention to reoffend, but rather was independently associated with intention to reoffend.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-456
Number of pages24
JournalCurrent Issues in Criminal Justice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


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