Purpose: Little is known about demographic differences in patterns of incarceration among delinquent youth as they age. This study examines gender and racial/ethnic differences in patterns of incarceration in a sample of youth after they leave detention. Methods: Participants were 1829 youth detained in Chicago, IL between 1995 and 1998. Lifetime dates and locations of incarcerations were gathered from state and county correctional records. We used cluster analysis to identify distinct groups based on the number of incarcerations, length of each stay, and setting. Results: By young adulthood, nearly all youth had multiple incarcerations. We identified five distinct groups among men, ranging from those incarcerated only as juveniles to men with long prison stays. Among women, we identified four groups, ranging from women with one juvenile incarceration to women who had been incarcerated in prison. Overall, men were incarcerated more frequently and for longer periods of time when compared with women. Racial/ethnic minorities were highly likely to be included in groups with the most extensive incarceration histories. Conclusions: Men and people of color are at high risk for re-incarceration as they age. Policymakers should expand policies promoting alternatives to incarceration to avoid entrenchment in the justice system.
- Cluster analysis
- Health disparities
- Juvenile justice
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science