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Disruption of High School Education by Arrest and Court Involvement Essay Sample

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Disruption of High School Education by Arrest and Court Involvement Essay Sample

There has been little research assessing the effects of juvenile justice involvement during high school on educational outcomes. The article uses the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and assesses the effects of first-time arrest and court involvement during high school on educational attainment. Unlike other studies about this issue, a national representative sample was used. Regions of the country, areas within the regions, and households were randomly chosen. The sample consisted of youths below age 16, but in high school. Arrest and court involvement self-reports were drawn from the subsequent two years, and dropout was measured three years after the initial measurement of background characteristics. 4,432 people sampled were age-eligible, but, after youth below the poverty level and juveniles who had been arrested prior to the beginning of higher school were dropped from the sample, the final sample size was 2,501.

Subjects were asked about participation in six kinds of offending: intentional destruction of property, theft of items worth under $50, theft of items worth greater than $50 (including automobiles), other property crimes, attacking someone with serious intent to hurt them, and selling illegal drugs. Delinquency involvement was measured on a scale of zero to six, indicating how many of those six activities those youths participated in. The effects of arrest and juvenile court involvement were studied, and it is important to note that juveniles falling under juvenile court involvement include those arrested.

The study found that first-time arrest during high school nearly doubled the odds of high school dropout, while a court appearance nearly quadrupled the odds of high school dropout. Interestingly, 92% of offenders who participated in two or more kinds of offending dropped out, while 10% of all offenders dropped out or got their GED, compared to the national average of a 13% dropout rate. I was astounded that the average middle-school grade point average of offenders was 2.97, which is nearly on the B honor roll. Further, effects of court appearance were dependent on the number of delinquent acts committed. Court appearance increased the odds of dropout by a factor of 3.8 for youths involved in one or two kinds of delinquent acts and by 1.4 for those involved in three delinquent acts. Surprisingly, court appearance had virtually no effect on those who participated in four or more kinds of delinquency because youths involved in four or more types of delinquency were more likely to drop out than non-delinquent youths regardless of court involvement. Also, contrary to popular belief, the effects of arrest and court involvement did not significantly differ by poverty status, race, or sex.

While the study was interesting, some of the data were complicated. Also, examining the drop-out rate was a main focus of the study, which was done in an inaccurate way. The findings showed that 10% of the sample dropped out, compared to the national average of 13%, suggesting that juvenile delinquents are less likely to drop out of school. However, when looking at the other data, this was not the case. Three flaws include not sampling youths who dropped out prior to age 16, not sampling youths arrested prior to age 16, and not accurately measuring the dropout rate. More serious offenders begin at an early age and are at a higher risk of dropout. Further, some people were still in high school when the dropout was measured and may have dropped out at a later date. Future research should include all delinquents and should measure the dropout rate after those delinquents should have graduated. Also, getting a GED is not necessarily considered dropping out. The GED aspect should have been included in a different study.

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