INTRODUCTION

Introduction

In 1992, Jeffrey M. Jenson, Ph.D. conducted a survey of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use among juvenile probationers in Utah. That study was supported by four agencies that were interested in the substance use and other problems of youth on probation. The agencies were the Utah State Administrative Office of the Courts, the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, Utah State Division of Substance Abuse, and Utah State Office of Education. The results of the study showed that juvenile probationers used more ATODs than youth in the general population, and were more at risk for mental health problem, delinquency, gang involvement, and other problem behaviors. The present survey, again supported by the same four agencies was conducted as a follow-up to the 1992 survey to determine the current level of ATOD use and problem behaviors among probationers.

Results of the present survey will be compared to those from the 1992 survey as well as the results from the recent (1997) youth household survey conducted by Dan Jones and Associates for the Utah State Division of Substance Abuse (DSA). Having the results of these other surveys will allow a longitudinal comparison of problem behaviors and ATOD use by probationers from 1992 to 1997 as well as a comparison between probationers and youth from the general population in Utah.

The value of this survey is also enhanced by two other projects conducted by the Social Research Institute (SRI) and the DSA. The projects are: 1) an investigation of the risk and protective factors for substance abuse and 2) estimating the need for substance abuse treatment in Utah. The Risk and Protective Factor Project was funded by the Federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP). The goal was to find the factors that place youth at risk for substance abuse and the factors that protect youth from substance abuse. Utah worked with five other states and the Social Development Research Group (SDRG) at the University of Washington on this project. The risk-focused model of prevention that formed the basis for this Six-State Project was developed by J. David Hawkins, Ph.D., Richard R. Catalano, Ph.D., and their associates at the SDRG. Descriptions of the risk-focused model have been published in Communities That Care by Hawkins and Catalano in 1992, and can be consulted for additional information on the risk-focused model of substance abuse prevention.

The risk-focused model makes several generalizations about risk in youth: 1) risks exist in many areas of a young person's life, 2) the more risk factors that are present in the youth's life the greater the overall risk of abusing ATODs, 3) common risk factors predict several behavior problems such as substance abuse, delinquency, violence, teen pregnancy, and school dropout, and 4) protective factors help reduce the effects of exposure to risk. The risk and protective factors have been divided into four domains: 1) community, 2) family, 3) school, and 4) the individual and his peers. A more detailed description of the risk and protective factors for substance abuse and how the probationers in this survey scored on the 20 risk and 12 protective factor scales will be presented in the Risk and Protective Factor Section.

The Substance Abuse Treatment Needs Project was funded by the Federal Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). While this project is still in progress and the Utah statewide survey of youth in grades 7 through 12 to determine their need for substance abuse treatment is not completed, the methodology of determining the need for treatment that was used in that survey was incorporated in this survey of Juvenile probationers. The survey methodology was based upon asking the youth questions that would allow a determination of whether they met the diagnostic criteria for substance abuse or substance dependence according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III-R) published by the American Psychiatric Association. Those who meet the diagnostic criteria for substance abuse or dependence are definitely in need of treatment. The section on Need for Substance Abuse Treatment will provide information on the percent of probationers that need substance abuse treatment and the types of substances for which they need treatment.


Methodology


Questionnaire Development and Administration

The questionnaire was developed by the SRI using the 1992 probation questionnaire, the questionnaire used to determine risk and protective factors, and the treatment needs questionnaire as references. These questionnaires contained questions about current and past drug use; problems associated with drug use; attitudes toward drug use and other delinquent behavior; attitudes toward school, family, and community; drug use by friends; and opportunities for positive involvement in school, with the family, and in the community. Once a draft questionnaire was written, it was reviewed by individuals representing various disciplines and agencies such as: 1) juvenile probation, 2) education, 3) Substance abuse prevention and treatment, 4) ATOD researchers, 5) and juvenile corrections. The comments made by the reviewers were helpful in producing the final questionnaire. The final version contained 367 items and required approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete (see the Appendix for a copy of the questionnaire). The questionnaires were distributed to the eight Judicial Districts in Utah where they were completed by the probationers. The survey was conducted during the months of April, May, and June, 1997.

This study was designed to include all youth on probation in the eight judicial districts across the state. The survey was completed by probationers during their regular visit to the probation office. The person who administered the survey to the youth briefly explained the purpose of the survey and stressed that the youth's survey would be completely confidential. The confidential nature of the survey was emphasized to ensure that the probationers would feel free to accurately complete their questionnaires. Probationers were told not to put their names or any other identifying information on the questionnaires. Probationers were expected to complete the questionnaire on their own. However, in some cases it was necessary for the person administering the survey to read some of the questions to the youth and clarify other questions. In cases where assistance was given, the administrator did not view the youth's survey and allowed the youth to mark the answers in a confidential manner. Once the youth completed the survey, he/she placed the survey in a sealed box with other surveys. The box was then sent to Central Probation where the survey responses were entered into a computer program for analysis. The staff at the SRI also assisted in entering questionnaire responses into the computer.

Data Analysis

There were 1032 questionnaires returned for analysis. However, not all the questionnaires were accurately completed and several checks were done to ensure that the final data base contained valid information. The first check was to determine if probationers had over-stated their ATOD use. A false drug, derbisol, was included in the questionnaire to identify those individuals that marked all drugs. There were 53 respondents that checked that they used derbisol in both their lifetime and in the past 30 days. Another question to screen out non-valid questionnaires was question number 364, "How honest were you in filling out this survey?" Anyone who stated that they were "not honest at all" was eliminated from analysis. There were 18 individuals who responded that they were not honest at all. The third check entailed determining the level of multiple use of drugs over the past month. There were 9 individuals who reported using drugs on more than 120 occasions in the past month and were excluded from the analysis. Because some individuals were excluded by more than one data check, the final number of excluded questionnaires was 68, leaving 964 questionnaires to be analyzed. Data analysis was done at the SRI using the SPSS statistical package for Windows.

Focus Groups

There were several topics of investigation that could not easily be put into questionnaire form. Probationers' thoughts and feelings about these issues was explored through focus groups. Topics for the focus groups included:

  1. Youth knowledge of laws and penalties associated with substance use.
  2. Types of court programs that have helped youth stay out of trouble.
  3. Penalties that have helped deter criminal behavior.
  4. The court's response to crime and drug use.
  5. Youth perception of the criminal justice system, with recommendations for program development.
  6. Substance use issues such as perceived harmfulness of drugs, availability, and youth expectations of future drug use.

Results of the focus groups that were conducted with probationers are contained in the Focus Groups Section.


Results


Survey Participants

The final number of survey participants was 1,032. They had a mean age of 15.5 years and 15% were female and 85% male. They were on probation for an average of 7.7 months. Their ethnicity was 68% Caucasian, 15.5% Hispanic, 8.2% Native American, 5.2 Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1.7% African American. As was stated above, 68 participants were screened out of the final analysis because their questionnaire responses were not valid. Table 1 contains the number of surveys completed in each district along with the estimated number of youth on probation in each district. As can be seen, the completion rate varies across the districts from a high of 89% in district 2 to a low in district 7 of 34%. The overall completion rate is 61%.

Table 1 - Survey Completion by Judicial District

DISTRICT and COUNTIES
Number on Probation
Number in Survey
Percent Completion
1. Cache, Rich, Box Elder 143 86 60%
2. Weber, Morgan, Davis 219 195 89%
3. Salt Lake, Summit, Tooele 715 467 65%
4. Millard, Juab, Utah, Wasatch 220 121 55%
5. Beaver, Iron, Washington 135 50 37%
6. Sanpete, Garfield, Kane, Piute, Sevier, Wayne 86 43 50%
7. Carbon, Emery, Grand, San Juan 121 41 34%
8. Daggett, Duchesne, Uintah 65 29 45%
Total 1704 1032 61%

Because there was an attempt to survey all youth on probation, it is important to ensure that those surveyed are representative of all probationers. Discussions with those administering the questionnaire revealed that there was no bias in the way that probationers were selected to complete the questionnaire. A comparison of the percent of males and females who completed the survey with those on probation also showed that the survey appeared to capture a representative sample of youth on probation. The percentage of males who completed the survey is 85%, while the percentage of males on probation is 87%. Even though males appear to be very slightly under-represented in the survey, it appears that those who completed the survey are representative of the overall population of probationers.

School and Employment

Employment. Most of the probationers (77%) reported being employed at some time in their lives. Thirty-five percent (35%) reported being currently employed, and those who were currently employed averaged 30 hours of work each week.

School enrollment. Thirty-eight percent (38%) of probationers were enrolled in regular classroom placements. Vocational and alternative school placements accounted for 24% of probationers. Eight percent (8%) were on home study, and 10% were enrolled in special education programs. Eighteen percent (18%) reported being currently expelled, suspended, or having dropped out of school, and 2.8% had graduated. Table 2 shows the percentages of the 1997 probation survey and the 1992 probation survey by their school enrollment status. The school enrollment characteristics of participants in this survey are very similar to those who participated in the 1992 survey.

Table 2 - School Enrollment

SCHOOL PROGRAM
1997 Survey
1992 Survey
Regular Classroom 38% 42%
Alternative/special program 42% 44%
Not enrolled 20% 14%

Even though the mean reported grade point average for the probationers was 1.7, or between a "C" and "D" average, 87% reported that it was mostly or definitely important to get good grades in school. Twenty-one percent (21%) of respondents said they had mostly or definitely given up on school. .

Training in coping skills. Most of the respondents reported having participated in some form of coping skills training. Table 3 shows the percentages of respondents who reported they had received skill training. Eighty-four percent (84%) of probationers in the 1997 survey reported having skill training in at least one of the skill areas, and the average number was 5.4.

Table 3 - Percentage of Respondents Reporting Skill Training Education

SKILL TRAINING TYPE
1997 Survey
1992 Survey
Drug Education/Prevention 71% 72%
Communication Skills 68% 56%
Problem Solving 72% 59%
Decisions Making 67% 56%
Values Clarification 42% 42%
Coping Skills 45% 55%
Stress Management 52% 49%
Anger Management 58% n/a
Self-esteem 61% n/a
Refusal Skills 45% n/a
Positive Alternatives to Drug Use 59% n/a

Educational involvement. Many responses of youth probationers indicate they are alienated from the school environment. When asked if they believed students at their school had many chances to participate in decisions about rules and class activities, only 52% of probationers said this was mostly or definitely true. This was considerably less than the 71% endorsement from the community respondents. Table 4 contains a comparison between responses by probationers and the youth in the general community. The percentages in the table reflect the proportion of those in the community survey (COMM) and probation survey (1997 PROB) that endorsed the question as mostly or definitely true.

Despite their generally negative experience with the academic setting and their poor performance, 87% of probationers indicted that they thought it was important to get good grades and 73% wanted to attend college or vocational training after high school.

Table 4 - Comparisons Between Youth From the General Public and Those on Juvenile Probation on Education Issues

SURVEY QUESTIONS
COMM
1997 PROB
Teachers ask me to work on special classroom projects 62% 35%
My teachers notice when I am doing a good job and let me know about it 82% 69%
There are a lot of chances for students in my school to get involved in sports, clubs, and other school activities outside of class 90% 69%
I try hard to do good work in school 95% 74%
Teachers don’t call on me in class, even when I raise my hand 14% 28%
There are lots of chances for students in my school to talk with a teacher one-on-one 83% 67%
My grades are better than the grades of most students in my class 73% 30%
I feel safe at my school 88% 72%
My teachers praise me when I work hard in school 77% 53%
The school lets my parents know when I have done something well 59% 40%
It is important to me to get good grades 96% 87%

Family Characteristics

Perceptions of family involvement. The youth probationers reported considerably less family involvement or support from their families than youth in the community. Table 5 contains questions about family issues and the percentages of those who responded that the statement was mostly or definitely true for them. All differences between percentages were significant at least at the p<.05 level.

Table 5 - Comparisons on Family Involvement Issues

FAMILY INVOLVEMENT QUESTIONS
COMM
1997 PROB
My parents ask if I've gotten my homework done 89% 69%
When I am not at home, one of my parents knows where I am and who I am with 89% 71%
If I drank some alcoholic beverage without my parents’ permission, I would be caught by my parents 76% 48%
My family has clear rules about alcohol and drug use 92% 78%
If I carried a handgun without my parents’ permission, I would be caught by my parents 85% 56%
If I skipped school I would be caught by my parents 78% 60%
I feel very close to my mother 90% 75%
I share my thoughts and feelings with my mother 81% 61%
I enjoy spending time with my father 85% 67%
My parents ask me what I think before most family decisions affecting me are made 81% 57%
We fight a lot in my family 20% 44%
People in my family sometimes hit each other when they are mad 18% 35%

Alcohol and Other Drug Use Among Probationers

Lifetime drug and alcohol use. Probationers were questioned about their use of nine categories of drugs: tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, marijuana, hallucinogens, stimulants, sedatives, cocaine, inhalants, and opiates. Tobacco products include cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. Alcoholic beverages include beer, wine, and hard liquor. The sedative category includes sedative/hypnotic drugs, such as Valium, Xanax, barbiturates, or sleeping pills. The stimulant category includes amphetamines, methamphetamine, "crystal," and "crank." The hallucinogen group is represented by LSD, PCP, and Psilocybin mushrooms. Cocaine includes both powdered cocaine for intranasal use as well as smokeable "crack" cocaine. Inhalants include glue, aerosol sprays, or other volatile solvents. Opiates include heroin and other narcotic pain medications.

As can be seen in Table 6, probationers used drugs in all categories at rates much higher than youth in the community. In fact, probationers lifetime use ranged from three times the community rate for alcohol and 3.5 times the rate for cigarettes to 13 times the 1997 community rate for hallucinogens and 27 times the rate for opiates. The most frequently used drugs among probationers and youth in the community were cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana.

Table 6 - Percentage of Respondents Using ATODs During Their Lifetime

DRUG USED
1997 COMMUNITY
1997 PROBATION
1992 PROBATION
Smokeless Tobacco 8% 48% N/A
Cigarettes 25% 88% 92%
Alcohol 27% 85% 90%
Marijuana 12% 77% 70%
Hallucinogens 3% 41% 43%
Stimulants 4% 37% 49%
Inhalants 6% 35% 34%
Cocaine/crack 2% 32% 26%
Sedatives 3% 28% N/A
Opiates .4% 11% N/A

There has been a modest decrease in the proportion of the probationers reporting cigarette use since the 1992 youth probation survey, from 92% to 88%. There has been a similar reduction in the proportion having ever tried alcoholic beverages, down from 90% in the 1992 survey to 85% in the 1997 survey. Reported stimulant use also decreased from 49% in 1992 to 37% in the present survey. Movement in the opposite direction has occurred with the proportion having ever used marijuana or cocaine rising from 70% to 77% and 26% to 32%, respectively. There was no change from the 1992 survey in proportion of those having ever used inhalants or hallucinogens. Figures from the 1992 survey for opiate and sedative use were not available for comparison.

Drug and alcohol use in past thirty days. The percentage of respondents using substances in the past 30 days is shown in Table 7. In 1997, 59% of probationers reported smoking cigarettes in the past 30 days. Forty-eight percent (48%) of respondents reported daily smoking of cigarettes. Thirty-two percent (32%) reported daily smoking of a half-pack of cigarettes, or more.

Thirty-four percent (34%) of the probationers reported drinking alcohol in the past 30 days. Fourteen percent (14%) reported drinking alcohol one or two times, while 7% reported drinking on ten or more occasions. Twenty-six percent (26%) of respondents reported using marijuana in the past 30 days. Eleven percent (11%) reported using marijuana one or two times, while 8% reported using marijuana more than ten times. Rates of use of other drugs in the past 30 days were 9% for hallucinogens, 11% for stimulants, 4% for inhalants, 6% for cocaine, 9% for sedatives, and 3% for opiates. As with lifetime use, the probationers had a much higher rate of 30 day use of drugs than the youth in the community.

Table 7 - Percentage of Respondents Using ATODs During the Past 30 Days

DRUG USED
1997 COMMUNITY
1997 PROB
1992 PROB
Cigarettes 10% 59% 78%
Alcoholic beverages 12% 34% 40%
Marijuana 5% 26% 29%
Hallucinogens 1% 9% 9%
Stimulants 2% 11% 11%
Inhalants 2% 4% 3%
Cocaine/crack 1% 6% 3%
Sedative/hypnotics 1% 9% N/A
Opiates .1% 3% N/A

There has been a significant decrease in the proportion of the probationers reporting cigarette use in the past 30 days since the 1992 youth probation survey, from 78% to 59%. There has been a more modest reduction in the proportion having used alcohol in the past 30 days, down from 40% in the 1992 survey to 34% in the 1997 survey. A significant increase in 30 day use of cocaine was found, going from 3% in 1992 to 6% in the current survey. There were no significant changes in 30 day use of stimulants, marijuana, hallucinogens, or inhalants since the 1992 survey.

District Comparisons of Substance Use. The percentage of respondents using alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana in their lifetime and in the past 30 days for each district is shown in Table 8. The percentage of probationers who use substances varies across the eight districts. For example, marijuana use in the past 30 days ranges from a high of 32% in district 3 to a low of 15% in district 7. However, in all of the districts, the percentage of probationers that use alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana is much higher than the percentage of youth from the general population. This is true for use in the past 30 days as well as use during the respondent's lifetime.

Table 8 - Substance Use by District

 
ALCOHOL
CIGARETTES
MARIJUANA
DISTRICT and COUNTIES
30 day
Life
30 day
Life
30 day
Life
1. Cache, Rich, Box Elder 38% 92% 78% 93% 23% 76%
2. Weber, Morgan, Davis 25% 82% 51% 84% 20% 75%
3. Salt Lake, Summit, Tooele 41% 86% 60% 88% 32% 80%
4. Millard, Juab, Utah, Wasatch 26% 79% 53% 88% 24% 72%
5. Beaver, Iron, Washington 36% 92% 67% 96% 23% 79%
6. Sanpete, Garfield, Kane, Piute, Sevier, Wayne 20% 83% 50% 93% 17% 73%
7. Carbon, Emery, Grand, San Juan 33% 90% 60% 88% 15% 69%
8. Daggett, Duchesne, Uintah 29% 75% 63% 93% 21% 71%
Overall State Probationers 34% 85% 59% 88% 26% 77%
General Youth Population 12% 27% 10% 25% 5% 12%

Age of first drug and alcohol use. Table 9 shows the reported age of first use of alcohol and marijuana for the 1997 community and probation surveys and the 1992 probation survey. The probationers in 1992 had higher rates of alcohol use at ages 12, 15, and 18. However, for marijuana, probationers in 1997 had higher rates of use for ages 15 and 18. Marijuana use by age 12 was 22% in the 1997, compared to 29% in the 1992. By age 18, however, the 1997 probation group exceeded the 1992 probation group in the percentage having used marijuana, with 11% more probationers reporting having used marijuana in 1997.

For the youth in the community, by age 12, only 9% had used alcohol, compared to 37% of the current probationers, and by age 18, 86% of probationers had used alcohol compared to 26% of the youth in the community. Only 2% of the youth from the general population had used marijuana by age 12, while 22% of the probationers reported marijuana use by age 12. By the age of 18, 81% of probationers had used marijuana compared to 13% of the youth in the general population.

Table 9 - Age of First Use of Alcohol and Marijuana

AGE OF FIRST USE
1997 COMM
1997 PROB
1992 PROB
Used alcohol by age 12 9% 37% 48%
Used alcohol by age 15 21% 75% 85%
Used alcohol by age 18 26% 86% 90%
Used marijuana by age 12 2% 22% 29%
Used marijuana by age 15 10% 69% 65%
Used marijuana by age 18 13% 81% 70%

Pattern of drug and alcohol use. In the current survey, 25% of the probationers reported consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in a row (i.e., binge drinking) in the past two weeks, compared to 6% of youth in the community. Sixteen percent (16%) of the probationers said they had gone on drinking binges during which they kept drinking for a couple of days or more without sobering up. Twelve percent (12%) of the probationers believed they had a problem with their alcohol use. Seventeen percent (17%) said they had a problem with their use of marijuana, and 10% said they had a problem with a drug other than marijuana.

Perceived risks of drug and alcohol use. Probationers were asked to assess the risk involved with the use of various drugs. Table 10 shows the percentages from the 1992 survey and the 1997 survey that endorsed "great risk" from using the various drugs. Probationers have changed markedly since the 1992 survey in their assessment of the risk of regular use of marijuana with a decrease from 45% in 1992 to 28% in 1997. The perceived harmfulness of "taking cocaine regularly" also decreased from 95% stating that there was "great risk" in 1992 to 66% in 1997. The risk of taking stimulants and "having 4 or 5 drinks nearly every day" also decreased. This trend should be monitored closely since a decrease in the perceived harmfulness of a substance usually occurs prior to an increase in the use rate of the substance. There was no significant change in perception of risk associated with binge drinking once or twice each weekend.

Table 10 - Risk Associated With ATODd Use

Would be at "great risk" using the following drugs
1997 PROB
1992 PROB
Smoking marijuana regularly 28% 45%
Taking cocaine regularly 66% 95%
Taking stimulants regularly 60% 68%
Having 4 or 5 drinks nearly every day 45% 67%
Having five or more drinks once or twice each weekend 36% 33%
Taking hallucinogens regularly 54% N/A

Ease of obtaining drugs. Probationers were asked to rank the ease of obtaining various drugs, from "very easy" to "very hard." Table 11 shows the rates of endorsement of "very easy" and "sort of easy" responses of youth in the community and those completing the 1997 probation survey. The probationers report that ATODs are easier to get.

Table 11 - Ease of Obtaining Drugs

"Very easy" or "Sort of easy" to get:
1997 COMM
1997 PROB
Alcohol 41% 71%
Cigarettes 49% 82%
Marijuana 39% 70%
Cocaine, LSD, or amphetamine 25% 49%

Parent and sibling use of drugs. Ten percent (10%) of probationers reported that one or both of their parents currently use marijuana "sometimes" or "a lot." Nine percent (9%) reported that one or both of their parents currently use drugs other than marijuana "sometimes" or "a lot." Similar questions were not asked of the youth in the community survey. Sibling use of alcohol and marijuana was much higher for probationers than youth in the community.

Table 12 - Parent and Sibling Drug Use

DRUG USED
COMM
1997 PROB
1992 PROB
Parent uses marijuana sometimes or a lot N/A 10% 7%
Parent uses other drugs sometimes or a lot N/A 9% N/A
Sibling has used alcohol 38% 70% N/A
Sibling has used marijuana 23% 59% N/A

Parent attitude toward drugs. Seventeen percent (17%) reported that their parents allow them to drink alcohol. Of these, 8% of the parents allow respondents to drink only at home, 3% allow them to drink only when away from home, and 6% allow them to drink at home or away from home.

Future intentions toward drug use. There has been a reduction in the proportion of probationers definitely intending to use alcohol in the future, from 32% in 1992 to 18% in the 1997. The 4% reduction in intent to use marijuana in the coming year was also significant (p<.05). The intention to use other drugs remained unchanged since 1992 at 7%. Table 13 lists the proportions for the two probation surveys.

Table 13 - Future Intention Toward Use of ATODs

Percent sure to use ATODs in the next year
1997 PROB
1992 PROB
Drink alcohol 18% 32%
Smoke marijuana 14% 18%
Use other drugs 7% 7%
Smoke cigarettes 31% N/A

Prior drug and alcohol treatment. Table 14 lists the rates of various modalities of drug and alcohol treatment services received by probationers in the 1997 and 1992 surveys. While 19% are currently in AOD treatment, the percentages of probationers in outpatient, residential, and self-help treatment have dropped considerably since the 1992 survey.

Table 14 - Type of AOD Treatment Ever Received

TYPE OF TREATMENT
1997 PROB
1992 PROB
Outpatient individual treatment 12% N/A
Outpatient group treatment 8% N/A
Any outpatient treatment 18% 50%
Inpatient or Residential drug and alcohol treatment 9% 22%
Day Treatment Program 5% 5%
Self-help groups 10% 22%
Currently in treatment 19% N/A

Delinquency and Gangs

The probation survey showed much higher rates of reported criminal activity than the community survey. Table 15 lists rates of various crimes reported in the probation and community surveys. The community survey did not have questions about gang involvement, but the 1992 probationers reported 20% gang membership, compared to the current 17% rate reported by probationers. Forty-seven percent (47%) of the probationers from the 1997 survey reported committing a crime while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which is virtually unchanged from the 45% report from the 1992 probationers.

Table 15 - Rates of Criminal and Gang Activities

CRIME AND GANG QUESTIONS
COMM
1997 PROB
Have sold drugs in the past year 2% 33%
Have stolen a vehicle in the past year 2% 28%
Have been arrested in past year 6% 74%
Have attacked someone in the past year 6% 36%
Brought a handgun to school in the past year 1% 9%
Felt pressure to join a gang N/A 32%
Reports being a member of a gang N/A 17%

Antisocial attitude. Youth on probation are characterized by a high rate of endorsement of antisocial attitudes, typically two to three times the rate of youth in the community. For example, 55% of the probationers thought it was alright to beat people up if the other person starts the fight. Thirty-seven percent (37%) of probationers said it was mostly or definitely okay to cheat at school. Table 16 lists the responses for the probation and community youth surveyed.

Table 16 - Percent Mostly or Definitely Endorsing the Question

Anti-social Attitude Questions
COMM
1997 PROB
I think it is okay to take something without asking if you can get away with it. 9% 18%
It is alright to beat up people if they start the fight. 26% 55%
It is important to be honest with your parents, even if they become upset or you get punished. 91% 79%
I think sometimes it's okay to cheat at school. 12% 37%
I do the opposite of what people tell me, just to get them mad. 14% 29%
I ignore rules that get in my way. 10% 39%
I like to see how much I can get away with. 15% 36%

Other Findings

Religious attendance. Attendance at religious services distinguished the probationers from youth in the community. The youth in the community reported a 73% rate of religious attendance of at least once per month, compared to only 33% for the probationers.

Mental health status. Thirty-eight percent (38%) of the probationers report having thought of committing suicide, and 17% report having made an attempt. Only 55% of the probationers reported having good emotional or psychological health over the past year.


Page Last Modified: 5/19/2010
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