SAGE Journal Articles

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Article 1: Hay, C., & Evans, M. M. (2006). Has Roe v. Wade reduced U.S. crime rates? Examining the link between mothers’ pregnancy intentions and children’s later involvement in law-violating behavior. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 43(1), 36–66.

Abstract: Rates of serious crime in the United States dropped greatly throughout the 1990s for virtually all offenses. John Donohue and Steven Levitt have argued that this reduction relates strongly to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized the abortion of unwanted pregnancies. If such pregnancies result in children with higher lifetime risks of criminality, then the greater ability to terminate these pregnancies after 1973 should reduce crime rates. The purpose of this article is to empirically assess Donohue and Levitt’s basic premise that unwanted pregnancies result in children with significantly higher risk for law-violating behavior. This analysis addresses two questions. First, do children born of an unwanted pregnancy become more highly involved in juvenile delinquency during adolescence and criminal behavior during early adulthood? Second, do the consequences of unwanted pregnancies depend upon the social and demographic characteristics of the child and family? The authors address these two questions with panel data gathered from a national sample of children born prior to Roe v. Wade.

Article 2: Goodkind, S. (2005). Gender-specific services in the juvenile justice system: A critical examination. Affilia, 20(1), 52–70.

Abstract: This article reviews the literature on gender-specific services for girls in the juvenile justice system. Drawing on feminist theorizing, it offers four critiques: (a) that the increasing involvement of girls in the system is taken as a real indicator of greater crime and delinquency; (b) that an essentialized notion of gender is used; (c) that the problem is located in the individual, to the exclusion of solutions that focus on system/structural changes; and (d) that a focus on girls’ victimization obscures girls’ agency and perpetuates girls’ continued punishment for behaviors that are more acceptable among boys. The article concludes by proposing a framework for rethinking gender in the design and delivery of services within and outside the juvenile justice system.

Article 3: van Batenburg-Eddes, T., Butte, D., van de Looij-Jansen, P., Schiethart, W., Raat, H., de Waart, F., & Jansen, W. (2012). Measuring juvenile delinquency: How do self-reports compare with official police statistics? European Journal of Criminology, 9(1), 23–37.

Abstract: The accuracy of measuring the prevalence of delinquency by means of self-reported questionnaires is difficult to evaluate. This study assesses the differential validity of self-reported delinquency in adolescents and, more specifically, self-reported police contacts because of suspected misconduct. This study was conducted as part of the Rotterdam Youth Monitor, a youth health surveillance system. Self-report data of pupils (mainly 12–15 years old) in the first or third grade of secondary school in the school years 2007–2008 and 2008–2009 (n = 23,914) were merged with police data. Of the pupils registered as a suspect, 62% admitted to having been interrogated at the police station. However, there were differences between groups. Multivariate analysis showed that Moroccan pupils and first-grade pupils were more likely to give an invalid response. Pupils who were registered for theft, vandalism, or assault were more likely to give a valid response, whereas pupils who were registered for an offence involving fireworks were more likely to give an invalid response. We conclude that using only self-reported data to measure delinquency in an ethnically diverse population results in substantial bias. It is advisable to use multiple sources to measure the prevalence of delinquency.