Rare look at youth post detention is bleak

A new Northwestern Medicine study offers a bleak assessment in a rare look at the outcomes of delinquent youth five and 12 years after juvenile detention.

Central to poor outcomes for the youth post detention are stark and persistent racial, ethnic and gender disparities, according to the massive study that began in the mid-1990s.

African-American males fared the worst, with lives characterized by incarceration, criminal activity and few positive outcomes. Hispanic males functioned more poorly overall than non-Hispanic white males. Females, however, functioned significantly better than males in nearly every domain, according to the report.

In the first large-scale longitudinal study to document the dearth of long-term positive outcomes among delinquent youth as they age, the researchers assessed the achievement of eight positive outcomes: educational attainment, residential independence, gainful activity, desistance from , mental health, abstaining from substance abuse, interpersonal functioning and parenting responsibility.

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