The subjective impact of contact with the criminal justice system: The role of gender and stigmatization

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Abstract

Labeling theory suggests that contact with the criminal justice system leads to feelings of stigmatization which will consequently have the counter-productive effect of increasing offending. The current study investigated this phenomenon by interviewing 394 young people sentenced in the NSW Children's Court about their emotional reactions to the experience, and testing whether differences in these emotional reactions were related to increases or decreases in re-offending. It was found that feeling stigmatized after the hearing was a significant predictor of re-offending for the young women, but not the young men, in the sample. In addition, young men with previous convictions who reported feeling stigmatized were less likely to re-offend. The implications of these findings for the way in which young offenders are treated are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)884-908
Number of pages25
JournalCrime and Delinquency
Volume60
Issue number6
Early online date2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014

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