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Psychosocial Maturity and Desistance From Crime in a Sample of Serious Juvenile Offenders
(NCJ 248391) March 2015
OJJDP Pathways to Desistance, Bulletin, 12 page(s)
L. Steinberg, E. Cauffman, and K. C. Monahan
 
The Pathways to Desistance bulletin series presents findings from a multidisciplinary investigation into why many youth who have committed serious offenses stop or reduce offending as they mature whereas others continue to offend into adulthood. The study followed more than 1,300 adolescents in the Philadelphia, PA, and Phoenix, AZ, metropolitan areas for 7 years following their convictions. This bulletin presents key findings on the link between psychosocial maturity and desistance from crime in males in the Pathways to Desistance study. Youth experience a protracted maturation, into their midtwenties, of brain systems responsible for self-regulation. Those whose antisocial behavior persisted into young adulthood were less psychologically mature and had more developmental deficits than other antisocial youth. The vast majority of juveniles who commit offenses, even those who commit serious offenses, grow out of antisocial activity by early adulthood as they develop more impulse control and future orientation as a natural part of maturing in general.
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