- Serious, Violent Young Offenders in South Africa
- Are They Life-Course Persistent Offenders?
- Journal of Interpersonal Violence
- Volume | Issue number
- 31 | 10
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Life-course persistent offending contributes greatly to violent offending in any country. South Africa has high rates of violence; this study investigated what proportion of young South African offenders might be identified as life-course persistent, and what risk factors identified this group. Offenders aged 12 to 25 years (N = 395) were selected from eight different correctional facilities in four provinces of South Africa. Latent class analysis identified 164 offenders (41.5%) with distinctly earlier starts and more serious offending. These (probably life-course persistent) offenders were distinguished from others by male gender, violence at home, other victimization, familial crime, school performance, violence at school, and alcohol abuse and gang membership. Correctional services should be specifically targeted at this large subgroup of offenders to prevent recidivism. Primary prevention efforts should be targeted at preventing violence at home and school, at promoting school attachment, at substance abuse treatment, and at gang membership.
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