Community Sanctions in Youth Justice Compared to Other Youth Crime Responses: A Meta-Analysis

Gwendolyn Geuze*, Frank Weerman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This meta-analysis examined the official recidivism effects of two types
of community sanctions in youth justice, namely community service and
behavioral intervention programs. Two analyses were conducted: a
comparison between the effects of community sanctions and custodial
sanctions, versus a comparison between the effects of community
sanctions and dismissals.

Following a systematic literature search, data extraction, and analysis,
mean effect sizes were calculated utilizing (log) odds ratio as main effect
measure. To explore heterogeneity, a meta-regression was conducted
with four moderator variables: methodological rigor, referral stage, main
focus of sanction, and sample risk level. The hypotheses were that
recidivism would be significantly lower for delinquent youth subject to
community sanctions compared to those subject to custodial sanctions,
but that differences in recidivism between delinquent youth subject to
community sanctions versus dismissals would be insignificant.

In total, 23 studies were deemed eligible for inclusion (Ncust = 7, Ndism
= 16). Final results were in favor of the hypotheses, namely, significantly
lower recidivism rates for community sanctions compared to custodial
sanctions, and no significant differences for community sanctions
compared to dismissals. However, these results were on the verge of
statistical significance as for both comparisons the 95% confidence
interval varied from close to zero, to substantially in favor of community
sanctions. Finally, moderator analysis revealed that studies of lower
methodological quality and mixed referral stages were more likely to
report larger effect sizes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalEuropean Journal of Criminology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Aug 2021

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