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Juvenile homicide offender recidivism

Chad Trulson (Department of Criminal Justice, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA)
Jon Caudill (School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA)

Journal of Criminal Psychology

ISSN: 2009-3829

Article publication date: 2 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to examine and explain the recidivism outcomes of a large cohort of juvenile homicide offenders three years following their release from institutional confinement.


Retrospective data were utilized to examine demographic, background, and institutional behavior variables on post-release recidivism of 247 juvenile homicide offenders. Analyses distinguish between capital and non-capital juvenile homicide offenders.


Descriptive analyses demonstrated a 50 percent recidivism rate among the sample of juvenile homicide offenders. Bivariate analyses revealed few significant differences between capital and non-capital homicide offending juveniles. Logistic regression analyses revealed that youth who were neglected prior to state institutionalization were significantly more likely to recidivate. Logistic regression also revealed that longer lengths of incarceration were associated with decreased odds of recidivism, while participating in assaultive behaviors against peers while confined aggravated the odds of recidivism.

Research limitations/implications

Implications related to the role that previous neglect, incarceration time, and institutional behavior can inform policymakers and practitioners on issues related to the treatment of juvenile homicide offenders while confined, and the impact that incarceration time and institutional behavior mean for post-release recidivism risk.


Little research has assessed the recidivism outcomes of juvenile homicide offenders, especially with a larger sample size. None have examined the differences between capital and non-capital homicide offending juveniles. As juvenile jurisdictions continue to retain more homicide offending juveniles (as opposed to their removal to adult systems), there is value to the research to inform policy and practice with such an enriched and problematic groups of offenders.



Trulson, C. and Caudill, J. (2017), "Juvenile homicide offender recidivism", Journal of Criminal Psychology, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 93-104.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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