The effect of custodial penalties on juvenile reoffending

Andrew McGrath, Don Weatherburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
275 Downloads (Pure)


This study uses propensity score matching to test the proposition that imprisonment deters future criminal activity among juvenile offenders. Using data from all court appearances of juveniles in the NSW Children's Court (Australia) between 2003 and 2004 (N'='6196), the reoffending of a group of young offenders sentenced to control (i.e. custodial) orders (N'='376) was compared to a matched group of offenders receiving community-based sanctions. No differences were observed between the two groups. The young offenders given detention orders had a slightly lower rate of reoffending, but this difference was not significant. The results of this study indicate that, over the time period examined in this study, the imposition of a custodial sentence had no effect on the risk of reoffending.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-44
Number of pages19
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of custodial penalties on juvenile reoffending'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this