Truancy offenders in the juvenile justice system - Examinations of first and second referrals Academic Article uri icon


  • Truancy has been identified as one of the top 10 educational problems in the United States and is considered an important predictor of later delinquent behavior. The purpose of this study was to track youth initially referred to the juvenile justice system because of truancy. Data were provided by the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (SCDJJ). The sample was drawn from a cohort of 12,468 juveniles, all born in 1985. A longitudinal approach was taken to examine truancy offenders' interactions with the SCDJJ at their first and second referrals. Compared to non-truancy referrals, youth who are first referred for truancy are more likely to be European American and female and less likely to have a history of serious drug use. Furthermore, they are less likely to be referred for more serious crimes later in their youth and, if later incarcerated, experience shorter commitments. The results of the present study suggest that youth who are referred to the juvenile justice system for truancy represent a distinct group of juvenile offenders compared to youth who are referred for other offenses. Implications of these findings for policy and future research are addressed.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, D., Katsiyannis, A., Barrett, D. E., & Willson, V.

citation count

  • 35

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Dalun||Katsiyannis, Antonis||Barrett, David E||Willson, Victor

publication date

  • July 2007