Justice System-Imposed Financial Penalties Increase Likelihood of Recidivism in a Sample of Adolescent Offenders

September 2016
By Alex R. Piquero and Wesley G. Jennings in Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice

Although the use of financial penalties is pervasive in the justice system, there has been limited (and mostly dated) empirical research that has investigated the effect of financial costs incurred by juvenile offenders and the extent to which such costs relate to the likelihood of recidivism and reintegration into society. This criminology study uses data from a large cohort of adolescent offenders to examine how demographics and case characteristics relate to financial penalties imposed by the justice system and the degree to which such monetary penalties are related to recidivism in a two-year follow-up. Results suggest that financial penalties increase the likelihood of recidivism. Study limitations and directions for future research are also discussed.