Early Adult Involvement in the Criminal Justice System Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Givens, Ashley
    • Affiliation: School of Social Work
  • The United States boasts the world’s highest rates of incarceration and community supervision for individuals involved in the criminal justice system. Approximately 40% of these individuals are early adults aged 18 to 29. However, little information is available on the criminogenic risks and needs for this age group, even though this age group is less cognitively developed than adults over age 30 which leads to higher impulsivity, lower reasoning, and inhibited executive functioning. Moreover, individuals involved in the criminal justice system experience trauma at rates substantially higher than the general population. Traumatic experiences are associated with impulsivity, substance use, lower reasoning, and violent reactions. This three-paper dissertation provides foundational information about the criminogenic risk and needs, as well as the traumatic experiences, for early adults. Paper one is a systematic review of trauma-informed interventions used with justice-involved populations. Paper two uses administrative data to explore criminogenic needs among early adult probationers, as well as nuances of criminogenic need based on gender and mental health symptomology. Paper three uses primary data collected from probationers with serious mental illnesses to assess the extent to which trauma is present among this high-risk, high-need population. Results show that little research is focusing on how early adults have unique needs separate from older adults. Additionally, few trauma-informed programs are being successfully implemented with justice-involved populations. Findings also suggest a need for trauma-informed programs to be provided within the criminal justice system, as well as programming focused on criminogenic needs responsive to the unique needs of females and individuals with mental health symptoms. Implications are discussed related to future programming for criminal justice populations served by social workers, early adults’ needs, and the presence of trauma and criminogenic needs among justice-involved populations with mental health needs.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Kainz, Kirsten
  • Cuddeback, Gary
  • Rizo, Cynthia
  • Wilson, Amy
  • Edwards, Daniel
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2018

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