Parents Shape Our Future: Desistance from Crime of Serious Juvenile Offenders

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The family serves as the primary socializing institution and a key predictor for the involvement of deviant activities for youths (Hoeve et al., 2011). Bonds between parent and child serve many purposes such as providing healthy attachment necessary to living a life without crime. Without bonds and feelings of love, deviant behaviors may ensue in children. The current study examined the impact of parental warmth on the prediction of desistance from crime among serious juvenile offenders using a cross sectional design. The sample of 14 to 17-year-old male and female offenders (N =1354) was composed primarily of ethnic minority youths. Results indicate that maternal warmth is a significant predictor for desistance across total, income and aggressive offending. However, paternal warmth is found to be a significant predictor for the income offending variety type only. These finding highlight the need for added supports for parents of juvenile offenders throughout the rehabilitation process. Advocacy, community resources and training efforts are needed to promote healthy parental/guardian relationships which will in return help juvenile offenders become successful desisters in the community. Additional research is needed to explore the changing dynamics of the family in society today as its impact on desistance from crime.


Atlanta, GA

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