Juvenile delinquency among the nation's youth is an ongoing concern. An essential task of juvenile justice workers is to identify and measure risk factors that impact a youth's likelihood of recidivating. The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (FDJJ) utilizes the Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT) to assess the risk for recidivism among all juveniles referred to the system. The current study examined how youths' level and types of risk, as well as the ability of the PACT to predict the odds of reoffending and the time to reoffend, vary across urban and rural communities. This study drew upon theories of social disorganization and collective efficacy (Raudenbush & Sampson, 1999; Shaw & McKay, 1942) and Andrews and Bonta's (2010) Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) model. Secondary data was used from 10,229 juvenile probationers in Florida to conduct bivariate analyses including chi-square tests of significance, independent samples t-tests, area under the curve estimations, multivariate logistic regression, and survival analyses. Results indicated that a greater proportion of urban youths than rural youths were rated at higher risk levels for recidivism. Of the eight types of risks examined, only past antisocial behavior, current antisocial peers, and current substance abuse varied significantly across community type. Also, a significant relationship was found between recidivism and community type. Finally, the PACT predicted both the odds of recidivism and time to recidivism more accurately for urban youths than for rural youths. The findings of this study may help guide juvenile justice practitioners in more accurately identifying risk factors and in determining whether one risk assessment instrument is sufficient for assessing juveniles from different types of communities.
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Fisher, Kristina Childs
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
School of Public Administration
Public Affairs; Criminal Justice
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Vannan, Kelly, "Examining Risk Factors of Juvenile Delinquency and the Predictive Validity of a Juvenile Risk Assessment Instrument Across Urban and Rural Communities" (2021). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 575.