Crystalline methamphetamine (ice) use prior to youth detention: A forensic concern or a public health issue?
ABSTRACT: Links between crystalline methamphetamine (CM) use and criminal offending are often drawn in the media; however, there has been little scientific research into this relationship. The aim of this study was to ascertain the prevalence and correlates of lifetime CM use among a sample of young people in detention in Australia and to examine whether an association exists between lifetime CM use and recidivism in this population.The sample included 202 young people (164 males) in youth detention in the state of Victoria, Australia. Participants were administered questionnaires related to lifetime substance use and socio-environmental experiences. Lifetime mental health data and offending data were obtained for each participant from public mental health and policing databases. More than one third (38%) of the sample reported lifetime CM use. In multivariate logistic regression analyses, older age, male gender, polysubstance use, and high levels of community disorganisation were associated with CM use. The presence of a psychiatric diagnosis over the lifetime was not significantly associated with CM use. CM use was also not significantly associated with violent recidivism. Efforts to address CM use and related harm in detained youth should include community-based strategies to reduce CM use among this vulnerable population following their release from detention. However, the findings suggest that CM use on its own is unlikely to be an important consideration for professionals concerned with determining which young people should be selected for treatment designed to reduce the risk of violent recidivism.
Project description:Background:Detention personnel may assume that mental health problems heighten the likelihood of future violence in detained youth. This study explored whether brief mental health screening tools are of value for alerting staff to a detained youth's potential for future violent offending. Method:Boys (n?=?1259; Mean age?=?16.65) completed the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-Second Version (MAYSI-2) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) as part of a clinical protocol. Official records were collected to index past and future violent offending. Results:A few significant positive and negative relationships between MAYSI-2 and SDQ scale scores and future violent offending were revealed, after controlling for age, past violent offending, and follow-up time. These relations were almost entirely dissimilar across the ethnic groups, even to the extent of finding opposite relations for boys in different ethnic groups. Conclusions:The small number of relations and their small effect sizes suggest little likelihood that screening for mental health problems in boys who are detained in the Netherlands offers any potential for identifying youth at risk for committing future violent crimes. The current findings also suggest that ethnic differences in the relation between mental health problems and future criminality must be considered in future studies.
Project description:Juvenile violent offending is a serious worldwide public health issue.The study examined whether the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY) can be used to predict violent reoffending in Chinese male juvenile offenders, and to determine which risk/protective domains (items) are associated with violent recidivism.A total of 246 male juvenile offenders were recruited. SAVRY domains were scored by trained raters based on file review and interviews with participants and their legal guardians. Information on further arrests, charges, or convictions for violent offences were collected from police records over a five year follow-up.Over the course of the five year follow-up periods, 63 (25.6%) juvenile offenders were re-arrested for a further violent reoffence. Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) analyses showed Areas Under the Curve (AUCs) ranging from 0.60 to 0.68 for the SAVRY total, risk and protective score domains. Univariate logistic regression analysis showed that 7 of the 30 SAVRY items were significantly associated with reoffending; explaining 36.2% of the variance. Backward stepwise multiple logistic regression analysis showed the independently predictive items were items 2 ('history of non-violent offending'), 17 ('negative attitudes'), 18 ('risk-taking/impulsivity'), and 20 ('anger management problems'). Together these four items explained 25.0% of the variance in reoffending.The results suggested that the SAVRY can be meaningfully used to inform the development and evaluation of effective violence risk assessment and management approaches for male juvenile offenders detained in a Youth Detention Center in Hunan province, China.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Anger and depression are associated with a number of psychosocial problems, and their comorbidity may exacerbate maladjustment among incarcerated youth. The present study aims to identify whether anger and its different facets (cognitive, arousal, and behavioral), either independently or when conjoined with depressed mood, affects violent and nonviolent institutional infractions. METHOD:Male adolescents (14-17 years of age) were recruited within 48 hr of arrival at a juvenile detention facility and were administered psychometric measures of anger (Novaco Anger Scale) and depression (Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression scale) at baseline, 1 month, and 2 months. Offending within the facility was assessed via self-report and institutional records. RESULTS:Controlling for prior offending and other background factors, individuals having high anger scores were more likely to offend over the 2-month period, compared to those with lower levels of anger. Novaco Anger Scale scores, especially the Behavioral facet, predicted both official- and self-reported (violent and nonviolent) institutional offending. There was evidence for the interaction of depression and anger at baseline predicting self-reported offending at 1 month only. CONCLUSIONS:Given that juveniles' self-report of emotional distress, particularly anger, is predictive of their violent and nonviolent infractions, focused intervention programs could reduce behavior problems during incarceration that add to juveniles' maladjustment and continued exposure to adversities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To estimate the prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) among young people in youth detention in Australia. Neurodevelopmental impairments due to FASD can predispose young people to engagement with the law. Canadian studies identified FASD in 11%-23% of young people in corrective services, but there are no data for Australia. DESIGN:Multidisciplinary assessment of all young people aged 10-17 years 11 months and sentenced to detention in the only youth detention centre in Western Australia, from May 2015 to December 2016. FASD was diagnosed according to the Australian Guide to the Diagnosis of FASD. PARTICIPANTS:99 young people completed a full assessment (88% of those consented; 60% of the 166 approached to participate); 93% were male and 74% were Aboriginal. FINDINGS:88 young people (89%) had at least one domain of severe neurodevelopmental impairment, and 36 were diagnosed with FASD, a prevalence of 36% (95% CI 27% to 46%). CONCLUSIONS:This study, in a representative sample of young people in detention in Western Australia, has documented a high prevalence of FASD and severe neurodevelopmental impairment, the majority of which had not been previously identified. These findings highlight the vulnerability of young people, particularly Aboriginal youth, within the justice system and their significant need for improved diagnosis to identify their strengths and difficulties, and to guide and improve their rehabilitation.
Project description:Importance:Lead is a neurotoxin with well-documented effects on health. Research suggests that lead may be associated with criminal behavior. This association is difficult to disentangle from low socioeconomic status, a factor in both lead exposure and criminal offending. Objective:To test the hypothesis that a higher childhood blood lead level (BLL) is associated with greater risk of criminal conviction, recidivism (repeat conviction), conviction for violent offenses, and variety of self-reported criminal offending in a setting where BLL was not associated with low socioeconomic status. Design, Setting, and Participants:A total of 553 individuals participated in a prospective study based on a population-representative cohort born between April 1, 1972, and March 31, 1973, from New Zealand; the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study observed participants to age 38 years (December 2012). Statistical analysis was performed from November 10, 2016, to September 5, 2017. Exposures:Blood lead level measured at age 11 years. Main Outcomes and Measures:Official criminal conviction cumulative to age 38 years (data collected in 2013), single conviction or recidivism, conviction for nonviolent or violent crime, and self-reported variety of crime types at ages 15, 18, 21, 26, 32, and 38 years. Results:Participants included 553 individuals (255 female and 298 male participants) who had their blood tested for lead at age 11 years. The mean (SD) BLL at age 11 years was 11.01 (4.62) ?g/dL. A total of 154 participants (27.8%) had a criminal conviction, 86 (15.6%) had recidivated, and 53 (9.6%) had a violent offense conviction. Variety scores for self-reported offending ranged from 0 to 10 offense types at each assessment; higher numbers indicated greater crime involvement. Self-reported offending followed the well-established age-crime curve (ie, the mean [SD] variety of self-reported offending increased from 1.99 [2.82] at age 15 years to its peak of 4.24 [3.15] at age 18 years and 4.22 [3.02] at age 21 years and declined thereafter to 1.10 [1.59] at age 38 years). Blood lead level was a poor discriminator between no conviction and conviction (area under the curve, 0.58). Overall, associations between BLL and conviction outcomes were weak. The estimated effect of BLL was lower for recidivism than for single convictions and lower for violent offending than for nonviolent offending. Sex-adjusted associations between BLL reached statistical significance for only 1 of the 6 self-reported offending outcomes at age 15 years (r?=?0.10; 95% CI, 0.01-0.18; P?=?.02). Conclusions and Relevance:This study overcomes past limitations of studies of BLL and crime by studying the association in a place and time where the correlation was not confounded by childhood socioeconomic status. Findings failed to support a dose-response association between BLL and consequential criminal offending.
Project description:Youth offending is a problem worldwide. Young people in the criminal justice system have frequently experienced adverse childhood circumstances, mental health problems, difficulties regulating emotions and poor quality of life. Mindfulness-based interventions can help people manage problems resulting from these experiences, but their usefulness for youth offending populations is not clear. This review evaluated existing evidence for mindfulness-based interventions among such populations. To be included, each study used an intervention with at least one of the three core components of mindfulness-based stress reduction (breath awareness, body awareness, mindful movement) that was delivered to young people in prison or community rehabilitation programs. No restrictions were placed on methods used. Thirteen studies were included: three randomized controlled trials, one controlled trial, three pre-post study designs, three mixed-methods approaches and three qualitative studies. Pooled numbers (n?=?842) comprised 99% males aged between 14 and 23. Interventions varied so it was not possible to identify an optimal approach in terms of content, dose or intensity. Studies found some improvement in various measures of mental health, self-regulation, problematic behaviour, substance use, quality of life and criminal propensity. In those studies measuring mindfulness, changes did not reach statistical significance. Qualitative studies reported participants feeling less stressed, better able to concentrate, manage emotions and behaviour, improved social skills and that the interventions were acceptable. Generally low study quality limits the generalizability of these findings. Greater clarity on intervention components and robust mixed-methods evaluation would improve clarity of reporting and better guide future youth offending prevention programs.
Project description:Delinquent youth are at risk for early violent death after release from detention. However, few studies have examined risk factors for mortality. Previous investigations studied only serious offenders (a fraction of the juvenile justice population) and provided little data on females.The Northwestern Juvenile Project is a prospective longitudinal study of health needs and outcomes of a stratified random sample of 1829 youth (657 females, 1172 males; 524 Hispanic, 1005 African American, 296 non-Hispanic white, 4 other race/ethnicity) detained between 1995 and 1998. Data on risk factors were drawn from interviews; death records were obtained up to 16 years after detention. We compared all-cause mortality rates and causes of death with those of the general population. Survival analyses were used to examine risk factors for mortality after youth leave detention.Delinquent youth have higher mortality rates than the general population to age 29 years (P < .05), irrespective of gender or race/ethnicity. Females died at nearly 5 times the general population rate (P < .05); Hispanic males and females died at 5 and 9 times the general population rates, respectively (P < .05). Compared with the general population, significantly more delinquent youth died of homicide and its subcategory, homicide by firearm (P < .05). Among delinquent youth, racial/ethnic minorities were at increased risk of homicide compared with non-Hispanic whites (P < .05). Significant risk factors for external-cause mortality and homicide included drug dealing (up to 9 years later), alcohol use disorder, and gang membership (up to a decade later).Delinquent youth are an identifiable target population to reduce disparities in early violent death.
Project description:To investigate the predictive validity of tools commonly used to assess the risk of violence, sexual, and criminal behaviour.Systematic review and tabular meta-analysis of replication studies following PRISMA guidelines.PsycINFO, Embase, Medline, and United States Criminal Justice Reference Service Abstracts.We included replication studies from 1 January 1995 to 1 January 2011 if they provided contingency data for the offending outcome that the tools were designed to predict. We calculated the diagnostic odds ratio, sensitivity, specificity, area under the curve, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, the number needed to detain to prevent one offence, as well as a novel performance indicator-the number safely discharged. We investigated potential sources of heterogeneity using metaregression and subgroup analyses.Risk assessments were conducted on 73 samples comprising 24,847 participants from 13 countries, of whom 5879 (23.7%) offended over an average of 49.6 months. When used to predict violent offending, risk assessment tools produced low to moderate positive predictive values (median 41%, interquartile range 27-60%) and higher negative predictive values (91%, 81-95%), and a corresponding median number needed to detain of 2 (2-4) and number safely discharged of 10 (4-18). Instruments designed to predict violent offending performed better than those aimed at predicting sexual or general crime.Although risk assessment tools are widely used in clinical and criminal justice settings, their predictive accuracy varies depending on how they are used. They seem to identify low risk individuals with high levels of accuracy, but their use as sole determinants of detention, sentencing, and release is not supported by the current evidence. Further research is needed to examine their contribution to treatment and management.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Self-harm is associated with violent offending. However, little is known about young people who engage in "dual-harm" behavior. The authors investigated antecedents, clinical features, and life characteristics distinguishing dual-harming adolescents from those who self-harm only. METHODS:Participants were from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, a nationally representative U.K. cohort of 2,232 twins born in 1994 and 1995. Self-harm in adolescence was assessed through interviews at age 18. Violent offending was assessed using a computer questionnaire at age 18 and police records through age 22. Risk factors were assessed between ages 5 and 12. Adolescent mental health, victimization, personality functioning, and use of support services were measured at age 18. RESULTS:Self-harm was associated with violent crime (odds ratio=3.50, 95% CI=2.61-4.70), even after accounting for familial risk factors. Dual harmers had been victims of violence from childhood and exhibited lower childhood self-control and lower childhood IQ than self-only harmers. Dual harmers experienced higher rates of concurrent psychotic symptoms and substance dependence. They also exhibited distinct personality styles characterized by resistance to change and by emotional and interpersonal lability. However, dual harmers were not more likely than self-only harmers to have contact with mental health services. CONCLUSIONS:Dual harmers have self-control difficulties and are immersed in violence from a young age. A treatment- rather than punishment-oriented approach is indicated to meet these individuals' needs. Connecting self-harming adolescents with delinquency-reduction programs and transdiagnostic approaches that target self-regulation may reduce harmful behaviors. Preventing childhood maltreatment and implementing strategies to reduce victimization exposure could mitigate risk for both internalized and externalized violence.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Prior studies suggest parental and perinatal risk factors are associated with later offending. It remains uncertain, however, if such risk factors are similarly related to sexual offending. METHOD:We linked socio-demographic, family relations, and perinatal (obtained at birth) data from the nationwide Swedish registers from 1973 to 2009 with information on criminal convictions of cases and control subjects. Male sex offenders (n = 13 773) were matched 1:5 on birth year and county of birth in Sweden to male controls without sexual or non-sexual violent convictions. To examine risk-factor specificity for sexual offending, we also compared male violent, non-sexual offenders (n = 135 953) to controls without sexual or non-sexual violent convictions. Predictors included parental (young maternal or paternal age at son's birth, educational attainment, violent crime, psychiatric disorder, substance misuse, suicide attempt) and perinatal (number of older brothers, low Apgar score, low birth weight, being small for gestational age, congenital malformations, small head size) variables. RESULTS:Conditional logistic regression models found consistent patterns of statistically significant, small to moderate independent associations of parental risk factors with sons' sexual offending and non-sexual violent offending. For perinatal risk factors, patterns varied more; small for gestational age and small head size exhibited similar risk effects for both offence types whereas a higher number of older biological brothers and any congenital malformation were small, independent risk factors only for non-sexual violence. CONCLUSIONS:This nationwide study suggests substantial commonalities in parental and perinatal risk factors for the onset of sexual and non-sexual violent offending.