Browsing by Subject "juvenile offenders"

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  • Westerholm, Kristina (2008)
    The purpose of this thesis was to gain insight into the juvenile justice systems in the United States and Finland through examining the experiences of probation officers working within the two systems. During the past three decades, the juvenile justice system in the United States has shown an increase of hardened ideologies and a decrease in rehabilitative ideals, which goes against the very foundation of the first juvenile court. David Garland suggests that the increased punitiveness of the U.S. society is a symptom of the era we are living in, which he calls “late twentieth century modernity.” This is an era which has simultaneously recognized profound economic, cultural, social and political changes, and with it creating a sense of ontological insecurity for people. However, juvenile justice policies in Finland during this time have evolved in the opposite direction, placing increased emphasis on the special consideration needed for juvenile offenders. By examining the experiences of probation officers working within the two systems, this thesis attempted to determine what the current atmosphere of the systems was. As such, this study attempted to answer the following questions: (1) are the hardening ideologies supported by the probation officers answers who work with juvenile offenders? (2) How do the probation officers experience working within their respective systems and (3) what are their views on juvenile offenders? Consequently (4) are we able to determine where the current emphasis of the respective systems studied is on a treatment – punishment axis? This thesis utilized an exploratory survey design. Approximately 165 individuals who work for the Probation Service in Finland and the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice in the United States were selected to voluntarily respond to a survey questionnaire. The survey contained both quantitative and qualitative items and was analyzed through quantitative and qualitative methods making it a mixed-model study. The results indicate that probation officers in Finland believe in rehabilitation among juvenile offenders and support a system based on rehabilitative ideals. Probation officers in the United States still believe in rehabilitation as well, but have accepted a system which has evolved to one based on punitive ideals.
  • Kuivaniemi, Antti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Objectives: From the viewpoint of public safety and offender rehabilitation, there is a constant need for a development of more effective recidivism prevention programs. Religion has been offered as a solution to prevent recidivism and at the moment, many religious programs are run in the offender population. The objective of thesis is to examine the associations of religion on recidivism and whether this association is mediated by antisocial peer influence. Methods: This thesis utilizes a comprehensive longitudinal Pathways to Desistance data, in which participants were followed for seven years. The sample used in this thesis includes 1354 juvenile offenders, convicted of a serious offence, from Phoenix and Philadelphia, United States. The recidivism was examined with Self-Reported Offending (SRO) measure, and for the purposes of this thesis, both 1- year and 2-year measurements were used. The extent of religious beliefs and the frequency of church attendance were assessed with Importance of Spirituality scale. The associations of both religious beliefs and church attendance with recidivism in 1-year and 2-year measurements, and the mediating effects of antisocial peer influence, were assessed via binary logistic regression. Results and conclusions: It was found that religious beliefs predicted a decrease in recidivism two years after the religious beliefs were measures, but that association was not present in the 1-year follow-up. Higher church attendance was associated with a higher amount of recidivism at both 1-year and 2-year follow-ups after religious beliefs, antisocial peer influence and demographic variable were controlled for. Also, contrary to the framework of the social control theory, it was found that the association of religious beliefs or church attendance with recidivism was not mediated by the antisocial peer influence. In addition, the association of the religious beliefs on recidivism was not moderated by church attendance and vice versa. Overall, the body of literature on this subject is still very limited, with mixed results and with different types of measurements used. The findings of this thesis add to the evidence base and suggest that the effect of religion on recidivism is small at best, and that it is dependent on the constructs and measurements used. The development of recidivism prevention programs should focus on elements that have more empirical evidence and have been proven to work.
  • Rovamo, Eeva (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Objectives. Psychopaths have frequently been regarded as untreatable or even made worse by treatment. Psychopathy has also been linked to substance use disorders; however, little research has been conducted regarding how psychopathic traits impact the treatment of substance use problems. The purpose of the current study was to determine whether psychopathic traits in severe juvenile offenders interact with substance use treatment effectiveness. Specifically, this study examined whether psychopathic traits, including grandiose-manipulative, callous-unemotional and impulsive-irresponsible traits moderate treatment gains measured as a decrease in problematic substance use. It was hypothesised that grandiose-manipulative and callous-unemotional traits would interact with treatment effect. Method. The study sample consisted of 472 participants from a larger, criminogenic longitudinal study of juveniles convicted of severe offences (The Pathways to Desistance –study). This subsample included participants who received treatment for substance abuse during one or more follow-up periods. Participants were between the ages 14 and 17 and were recruited between 2000-2003. Each participant was followed for 6.5 years as they moved from adolescence to young adulthood. General linear mixed models were used to examine whether treatment, psychopathic traits, time and their interaction would predict reported substance use problems. Results and conclusions. Treatment was effective in reducing problematic substance use among juvenile offenders. Contrary to set hypotheses, none of the psychopathic traits moderated treatment effect. Unexpectedly, all psychopathic traits were negatively associated with problematic substance use. The findings suggest that treatment was successful in reducing substance use problems regardless of psychopathic traits and that these traits could to some extent act as protective factors against substance abuse. Though these preliminary findings are encouraging, future research employing a more rigorous study-design is needed before stronger conclusion can be made.