Most research on juvenile inmates in juvenile correctional centers focused on effectiveness of programs and factors of recidivism while the current study examined correlates of change in juvenile inmates’ behavior. The purposes of the current study are twofold. First, the current study explored factors which were hypothesized to have significant influences on juvenile inmates’ change in their behavior. Second, the study provided suggestions for criminal justice policy on the juvenile correctional system based on the findings of the analyses. To achieve the goals we first reviewed the findings of prior research on factors of change in juvenile inmates’ behavior and categorized the factors which had been found to affect the change. Secondly, based on the literature review we collected data which were relevant to the change in three ways: (1) extracting data from the juvenile correctional database system(called TEAMS: Total Education and Management System); (2) conducting survey with juvenile inmates who were selected for the current study; and (3) doing interview with staff members at the centers to get more information not included in the database system. Thirdly, using the collected data we examined correlates of juvenile inmates’ behavioral change and provided discussion on the juvenile correctional system.
We used data of 333 juvenile inmates who were in the juvenile correctional centers for more than five months at the time of survey. We used two dependent variables. One of them is the monthly evaluation score each juvenile inmate gets based on his/her behavior and achievement. The second variable is a score on a juvenle inmate’s behavior which consists of five parts (diligence, cooperation, autonomy, observance of rules, and courtesy). As independent variables programs each juvenile inmate participated in and relationship with staff members were included in the analyses. We also included sex, age, family income, criminal history, length of stay in the current center, family structure, parenting style, IQ score, self-esteem, antisociality, self-control as control variables.
The analyses showed that family income, family structure, and a program for sex offence had significant influences on cooperation; relationship with staff members and a program for educational plan influenced autonomy; age affected observance of rules; and self-esteem had a significant effect on courtesy. However, no variable had a significant influence on diligence. Only relationship with staff members had a significant effect on the overall score including the five sub-scales. Sex and criminal history affected the monthly evaluation score.
Based on the findings and the interview with staff members we provide four suggestions. First, the juvenile correctional system should develop a more advanced classification system including each juvenile inmate’s need. Second, Based on the results of the classification system the juvenile correctional center needs to provide personalized programs for each juvenile inmate. Third, the juvenile correctional center should develop more reliable and comprehensive evaluation system. Finally, the juvenile correctional system should develop programs not only for juvenile inmates’ behavior in the center but also for their reentry and prevention of recidivism.