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Violent Death in Delinquent Youth After Detention

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2015
14 pages
Publication Series
This bulletin examines the results of the Northwestern Juvenile Project - a longitudinal study of youth detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago, IL - with attention to rates of violent death in youth after release from detention.
Overall, the mortality rate among the delinquent youth after detention was just over four times higher than that of the standardized general population of Cook County. Of the 65 study participants who died during the period following detention, 95.5 percent died of homicide or legal intervention (90.1 percent homicide and 5.4 percent legal intervention); 1.1 percent of the deaths were suicides. Ninety-three percent of homicides were from gunshot wounds. Of particular concern was the mortality rate for delinquent female youth, which was nearly eight times the rate of the general population. Findings also highlight the role of firearms in early violent death; among youth ages 15-24 in the United States, nearly 20 percent of deaths are from firearms. Deaths from firearms disproportionately occur among minority youth. The Northwestern Juvenile Project is a longitudinal study of 1,289 youth ages 10-18 arrested and detained between November 20,1995, and June 14, 1998, at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. The random sample was stratified by gender, race/ethnicity, age, and legal status. In order to compare mortality rates for delinquents with those in the general population, all data were weighted according to the racial/ethnic, gender, and age characteristics of the detention center's youth population; these weighted, standardized populations were used to calculate reported percentages and mortality ratios. 3 tables, 2 figures, and 86 references

Date Published: September 1, 2015