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A Study On Juvenile Offenders

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In the past fifteen years, the number of juveniles detained or committed for an offense has ranged from 50,000 to 100,000 (Foley, 2001; Office of Juvenile Justice Detention Prevention, 2015), with only a small number of these going on to finish at the high school level (diploma or GED) after release. In fact, a seminal study by Haberman and Quinn (1986) found that only 1.6% of former juvenile offenders earn their high school diploma. More current research has found that that number varies, but that less than 20% of juvenile offenders who were detained ever achieve a high school diploma or GED (Osgood, Foster, & Courtney, 2010; Uggen & Wakefield, 2005). Unfortunately, the National Center for Educational Statistics does not track high school graduation rates for this subgroup of individuals, so the exact number is not obtainable.
Educational achievement is important for all students, but especially for juvenile offenders. Previous research on juvenile offenders has found that incarceration prior to age 16 significantly reduces the probability of graduating from high school (Hjalmarsson, 2008). Unfortunately, research has also shown that juvenile offenders who do not experience academic achievement have a high rate of recidivism and ending up back in the juvenile justice system or even being incarcerated as adults (Bullis, Yovanoff, Mueller, & Havel, 2002; LeBlanc, Pfannenstiel, & Tashjian, 1991; Sullivan, 2004). Academic success, therefore, can reduce delinquency (Arum &
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