Community courts are an alternative sentencing model targeting the underlying causes of criminal behaviour for low-level chronic offenders, aiming to improve the quality of life in the community and reduce recidivism (Porter et al., 2010). Vancouver's Downtown Community Court (DCC) is the first community court in Canada and addresses offenses that occur in a distinct catchment area in downtown Vancouver. The current study extends prior research on the DCC by exploring profiles of court participants and examining the longitudinal implications of DCC involvement on recidivism. A subsample (n = 1003) of youth from the Incarcerated Serious and Violent Young Offender Study (ISVYOS) will be used to address two research questions: 1) Are there differences in the types of individuals who access the court and those who do not? 2) Does the court produce longitudinal changes in recidivism after DCC involvement? Logistic regression analyses revealed differences among DCC and non-DCC participants. In addition, fixed-effects models observed within-individual increases in the expected rate of convictions in the year participants entered the court, however no significant changes were observed longitudinally. These findings represent the utility of individual-level criminogenic risk factors in understanding future court involvement and the importance of examining longitudinal patterns of offending to assess the impact of court involvement on recidivism.
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Thesis advisor: Rowan, Zachary
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