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Institute of Criminology


Dr Mirian S.Orlando and Professor David P. Farrington will be presenting their book "Understanding and Preventing Recidivism of Young Offenders in Argentina. Springer Briefs in Criminology" at the Institute of Criminology in October 2024, (date and time to follow). 

Abstract: The current book addresses the gap in the literature of “what works” regarding the prevention of juvenile delinquency and later recidivism from an early age. The research described in this book is innovative and up-to-date. It supplies important and relevant quantitative and qualitative evidence regarding the prediction of youth offending and recidivism in the lesser-studied context of Argentina and internationally.

We analyse risk factors for criminal recidivism of young offenders in Argentina, compared with studies in other countries; 65 recidivists are compared with 59 one-time offenders. Effect sizes were calculated for 24 risk factors for recidivism. Seven groups of risk factors were compared: (a) demographic information, (b) offence history, (c) family factors, (d) educational factors, (e) substance use history, (f) social factors, and (g) community and societal influences. Large effects on recidivism for all risk factors were found in the present study, in comparison with other countries. These findings are explained within the socio-cultural context of Argentina. Forward stepwise logistic regression analyses were carried out in order to investigate independent predictors, showing that age at first contact with the law, low school achievement, poor school attendance, substance abuse, delinquent peers and community disorganization were the most important independent predictors of juvenile recidivism in the present study. Criminal history and delinquent peers were also important predictors in other reviews of the predictors of reoffending.

The narratives of 128 young offenders, 69 recidivists and 59 one-time offenders, in the age group 16-17, who were monitored during the follow-up period of two years established by the criminal law for young offenders in Argentina, were analysed. None of the one-time offenders, reoffended during the follow-up period. The
desistance narratives showed three general features of the youth offenders, namely, (1) a rupture with the previous criminal identity; (2) the desire to close a stage of life associated with crime and to develop a “conventional” life free from justice; (3) confidence in maintaining the conventional life to which they aspire. Conversely, the persistence narratives showed three general features of the youth offenders, namely (1) an inability to build an alternative identity to the criminal one; (2) delinquency becoming a vital option, where not to commit a crime again is seen as a last option; (3) difficulty in defining strategies that avoid the factors that will lead to committing crime. The persistence narratives of young offenders are strongly associated with the most significant risk factors for recidivism found in Argentina. Future studies must be conducted focusing on early interventions aimed to foster personal and contextual protective factors, and encouraging desirable coping with the risk of delinquency in order to prevent the development of criminal behaviours and promote desistance.

Mirian Susana Orlando, PHD. Chief Executive: National Supreme Court of Argentina, Visiting Scholar Institute of Criminology. University of Cambridge (2020) Hosted by Professor David P. Farrington.
David P. Farrington, O.B.E., Emeritus Professor of Psychological Criminology at Cambridge University. Director of the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development (1982-2020). Co-Director of the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development (2021-2023). Stockholm Prize in Criminology. 925 published journal articles and book chapters on criminological and psychological topics, he has published 136 books, monographs and government publications, and 164 shorter publications (total = 1,225).