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Aspects of childhood deviancy: a study of young offenders in open centres in the Republic of Ireland.


Bridget C Fahy Bates

Type: Report
Region: Republic of Ireland
Northern Ireland

Very little research has been done in this country on the personal profiles of young people who break the law. The aim of this research is to provide such information at a time when it is proposed to introduce new juvenile justice legislation. The research profiles the residents of four open centres for young offenders in the Republic of Ireland with regard to their health, family and social history, educational attainment, cognitive ability, behavioural and emotional characteristics, hopes, attitudes and ambitions, self-care skills and socialisation abilities. Results indicate that, in general, subjects in all four centres share common characteristics despite the different designations of the centres. However those subjects who were convicted of criminal charges were more likely to have abused alcohol, to have criminal family members, to have a negative attitude to judges and to expect to spend future time in jail, while those subjects who were not committed through the courts were more likely to have been rejected by a parent or to have a parent deceased. They were also more likely to have experienced a major trauma. For all subjects the highest, "at risk" indicators included involvement in law breaking whether convicted or not, living in public sector accommodation with an urban background, a history of truancy with poor academic attainment, poorly educated parents, underage smoking and behavioural characteristics which were aggressive, antisocial, rebellious and untrustworthy. An analysis of the profile variables highlights those areas where resources should be focused for the purposes of prevention and treatment and provides an "at risk" indicator. The research also provides a database for future longitudinal research. The study has implications for future approaches to the care and welfare of those young offenders currently in residential care and for those "at risk" of breaking the law at an early age.



Rights: Public
Suggested citation:

Bridget C Fahy Bates. (1996) Aspects of childhood deviancy: a study of young offenders in open centres in the Republic of Ireland. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 19th September 2019].


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