Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work

Document Type



This study utilizes data resources from three state-level departments in Louisiana, Department of Education (DOE), Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ), and Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DOC), during the period 1996-2008. The sample involves 7th- 12th graders in DOE who were born between 1980 and 1989, with a sample size of N = 408,700 in total. There are two major parts in this study: (1) examining the school-level risk factors among four different offending patterns and making two comparisons among them: the early starters of crime (n = 14,346) vs. late starters (n = 17,107), and the adolescent-limiteds (n = 10,126) vs. life course persisters (n = 4,220); and (2) examining the criminological risk factors for adult criminality and adult recidivism. The second part contains two substudies, with one examining whether previous juvenile justice contact increases the likelihood of adult criminality; and another examining criminological factors in OJJ that predict future adult recidivism. Findings from the first part of this study show that all the school-level risk factors, including problem behaviors in school, school engagement variables, and school performance variables, are significantly associated with the criminal outcomes across the four different offending patterns, but they show stronger associations with the young offenders and the life course persisters than other offenders in general. Basic demographics are included in the analyses. Being male, African American, and coming from a low socioeconomic status family were identified as significant risks for involvement in criminal activities, especially among the life course persisters. Previous OJJ contact increases the likelihood of adult criminality. In particular, the frequency and severity of the original crimes, incarceration placement in OJJ, and gang membership are significant predictors of adult recidivism. This study also included post hoc analyses on the criminal outcomes among the expelled students. The results showed the strong associations between out-of-school expulsion and each offending pattern, especially among the early starters. A cost analysis on the judicial cost per expelled student using Louisiana 2010 state budget showed the price the state paid for this high risk group.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Guin, Cecile



Included in

Social Work Commons