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Youth Pathways: Evaluating the Mitigating Effects of Gender, Trauma and Mental Health Need in Juvenile Justice System Processing for System-Involved Girls

Award Information

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Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $50,000)

The OJJDP FY 2015 Studies Program on At-Risk or System-Involved Girls furthers the Department of Justice's mission by supporting discrete studies and/or secondary analyses of existing data to improve knowledge about girls at risk for contact with or involvement in the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have proposed to expand upon a previous studies in three local juvenile probation departments that indicated: (1) girls were at a much greater risk of being placed in secure placement for violation of probation than boys; (2) having elevated scores on the traumatic experiences subscale was the strongest predictor of the severity of out-of-home placement; and (3) girls spent longer periods in confinement than boys, even after controlling for other influential variables such as offense severity, prior record, age of referral, and facility type.

Under the current study, the researchers will further examine Youth Pathways: Evaluating the Mitigating Effects of Gender, Trauma, and Mental Health Need in Juvenile Justice System Processing for System-Involved Girls. This study will extend the research by including the analysis of data on all youth referred to the Texas juvenile justice system for calendar years 2007 through 2014. It is estimated that the sample may exceed 50,000 individual youth. The researchers will examine the pathway female offenders, especially those with trauma histories, take to and through the juvenile justice system. The analytical model will include an examination of the interaction between mental health needs and violation of probation, and a second interaction between trauma exposure and violation of probation. The researchers will further analyze how mental health need and trauma predict time in confinement by gender. The results of this project will shared with the state agency partners, and released as practitioner friendly policy and research briefs aimed at state and national policy makers, and one or more peer reviewed publications.

Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 28, 2015