A Meta-Analysis of Juvenile Offenders Rehabilitation or Incarceration?
AMeta-Analysis of Juvenile Offenders: Rehabilitation or Incarceration?
Thepurpose of this research project is to find out whetherrehabilitation is a more effectual approach of dealing with juvenilecriminal activities in the United States as compared toincarceration. If it can be proven that rehabilitation is a bettermethodology of dealing with the problem than incarceration, then thisalternative method can be recommended to replace the existing methodsemployed by the U.S. Department of Justice. Since this study utilizesa combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, severalreasons led to the selection of the used method in this study.
Timeconstraints, limited access to data, and budgetary limitationsresulted in the decision to use a Meta-analysis design. TheMeta-analysis research design was a term mostly used by the 1970’sresearchers. According to Hagen (2014), Meta-analysis design is aquantitative analysis of amalgamating, reviewing, and summarizing theresults from many different studies that have the same researchquestions. Furthermore, this design uses a statistical software thathelps to analyze the collected data, therefore, maximizing onreliability and precision (Hagen, 2014). This type of research designrequires a clear description of the research problem, examiningprevious pieces of literature for typical studies, constructing arelevant data set for examination and subsequent coding, and finallyanalyzing the data to create a summary of results.
Withthe guidance of the research questions, finding various relatedresearch studies involved conducting an extensive search usingkeywords: juvenileoffenders, rehabilitation or incarceration, approaches to dealingwith juvenile offenders, andrehabilitation approaches of criminal offenders.It was appropriate to visit the national statistics databases such asthe Department of Justice, Statistical Briefing Book, and othergovernment websites, to acquire the correct number of juvenileoffenders. The university database also formed a rich source ofpeer-reviewed journals plus dissertations done on similar or relatedtopics. Similarly, Google scholar provided some essential studymaterials. All these previous studies collected from various datasources cover all topics related to correction and criminal justice.Furthermore, all resources used in this study were saved in PDFformat and can be referenced in future.
Sincethe study was limited in time and resources, only ten variables wereselected and compared across all selected variables. The benefit ofhaving few variables is that the findings are kept simple with littlemisinterpretation events. While maintaining that many studies onlyreport on juvenile incarcerations and not rehabilitation, thefollowing variables were selected for the survey: Studycharacteristics such as author, year of publication, role ofevaluators (agency or program/ independent), type of approach used(whether incarceration or rehabilitation), publication status, andwhether the study found rehabilitation as a valid approach. Also, onthe population`s characteristics such as targeted population, agegroup, type of population (male, female, or mixed), and race. All thedata collected in each variable was nominal and therefore, could beclearly defined.
Typeof approach used– The study’s primary objective was to find which approach wasmore suitable in dealing with juvenile criminal offenses. Everyselected study for analysis involved a juvenile in prison or arehabilitation program in the community. Data that was collected onjuveniles in prisons was coded with a 0 and those in rehabilitationfacilities coded with a 1.
Typeof respondents– Since studies reveal incarceration gender disparities, it wasimportant to separate the data. However, little data is availablethat addresses female juvenile incarceration or rehabilitation asmost studies target the males. Nevertheless, gender was coded as anominal variable with males coded with a 0 while females coded with1. Studies that included both male and female juvenile offenders werecoded with a 2.
Race– On the race of the respondents, the investigation included themajority population which included Caucasians, and Black Americans.For Caucasian juveniles, the variable was coded with 0 while for theBlack American population it was coded with a 1.
Agegroup of respondents– The study resolved to group the population into two groups. Forjuveniles within the 12-14 age bracket, they were coded with 0, whilethose within the 15-17 age group were coded with a 1.
Therole of evaluators– The studies were either independently sponsored or program/agencybased. Agencies or particular programs focus on specific aspects ofresearch with a goal in mind of salvaging the situation. Studies thatwere independently carried out were coded with 0 while those thatwere supported by an agency or under a particular program were codedwith a 1.
Publicationstatus– This variable checked whether the research was published or not.The aim was to check on the authenticity of the selected sources. Fornon-published material, it was coded with a 0 while for publishedwork, it was coded with a 1.
Thevalidity of rehabilitation– Juvenile criminal reoffending is recorded by repeated charges,incarceration, or violations. The numbers are typically recorded forpersons who go through imprisonment or rehabilitation procedures.Studies in this research show whether rehabilitation is valid orinvalid in reducing juvenile recidivism. As a result, ifrehabilitation was found to be invalid it was coded with a 0 while ifit was discovered to be valid, it was coded 1.
Thecurrent study used a concept-centric approach which reviews andcategorizes the data. It is significant since it evaluates,synthesizes, and analyzes data in a critical manner. This procedurewas imperative in minimizing confusion by grouping relatedinformation before analysis. The first research question was answeredby descriptive statistics using measures of central tendency mean,mode, median. These statistical inference methods aided in reportingon the exact number of U.S. juvenile offenders. The data was thenpresented using pie charts, graphs, and histograms.
Thestudy used the SPSS Statistical software package for the analysisprocess. Using SPSS as an analysis tool also helps in testing thevalidity of the data collected. This software was used to run somebasic descriptive statistics across different variables. The combinedrehabilitation and incarceration sample size in this study was129,435for the purpose of averaging a mean size of 25,887.The sample size comprising of rehabilitation measures only is 2,133with a goal of having an average mean size of 711. On the other hand,the incarceration sample size is 1,717 participants for an averagesize of 858. Because of data inconsistencies in the sample sizes, themean sample size for each juvenile offender approach was calculatedbased on all members in each approach who are faced with juvenilecriminal charges.
Hagan,F. E. (2014). Researchmethods in criminal justice and criminology (9thed.). Hoboken: Pearson.
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