The Impact of Sports Participation for Juvenile Offenders in Correctional Facilities
Hendricks, Margaret Jacqueline
The use of sports to prevent youth from engaging in criminal behavior or involvement in gangs is common practice. Recently, interest in sports programming as a deterrent to re-offending and as a vehicle to improve psychosocial functioning has begun to increase academic research in this field. However, most of these studies are limited due to relatively small sample sizes, variation in measures, and focus on specific interventions, the generalizability of which cannot be assumed. Using the Pathways to Desistance Data Series I examine the short and long-term impact of sports participation for juvenile offenders in correctional facilities on their future expectations, antisocial peer relationships, and recidivism. I find a significant, but negative effect on future expectations, insignificant positive effects on peer relations and reoffending, and conflicting results for juvenile offenders who are gang-involved. Understanding how sports participation in prisons and detention centers benefits juvenile offenders will better inform rehabilitation practice in the United States juvenile justice system.
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