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Risk of Death Among Serious Young Offenders

NCJ Number
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency Volume: 34 Issue: 2 Dated: (May 1997) Pages: 187-209
Date Published
23 pages
Mortality data were gathered from California Vital Statistics for more than 4,000 youths paroled by the California Youth Authority during the 1980's to investigate the risk of death among serious juvenile offenders.
Subjects were drawn from two parole cohorts, those paroled between July 1981 and June 1982, and those paroled between July 1986 and June 1987. Information was available on criminal history, instant crime and commitment, personal and family characteristics, arrests, convictions, and placements following release, and death certificate records were examined. Exposure periods (time at risk of death) were about 11 years and 6 years for the two cohorts. Known deaths for the two cohorts totaled 181 for 3,995 male offenders, including 109 for 1,998 males in the 1981-1982 sample and 72 for 1,997 males in the 1986-1987 sample. Homicide was the prevailing cause of death, and numbers of deaths due to causes other than homicide were roughly proportional to length of exposure period. Numbers of homicides were roughly equal, despite very different lengths of time at risk. A higher probability of death by murder was observed for black youth, those from Los Angeles, those with a history of gang involvement and institutional violence, and those with a history of drug arrests. Public health implications of morbidity among young people, especially among those identified as high-risk, are discussed. 16 references, 14 notes, 7 tables, and 10 figures

Date Published: January 1, 1997