Study: Juvenile incarceration yields less schooling, more crime

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 05:05 in Psychology & Sociology

Teenagers who are incarcerated tend to have substantially worse outcomes later in life than those who avoid serving time for similar offenses, according to a distinctive new study co-authored by an MIT scholar.  “We find that kids who go into juvenile detention are much less likely to graduate from high school and much more likely to end up in prison as adults,” says Joseph Doyle, an economist at the MIT Sloan School of Management and co-author of a new paper detailing the results of the study. Indeed, the research project, which studied the long-term outcomes of tens of thousands of teenagers in Illinois, shows that, other things being equal, juvenile incarceration lowers high-school graduation rates by 13 percentage points and increases adult incarceration by 23 percentage points. A key to the study is that it uses the variation in judges’ sentencing tendencies to analyze a large pool of otherwise similar teenagers, thus isolating...

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