An Exploration of Juvenile Recidivism Through the Propensity for Learned Entrepreneurship

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The purpose of the study was to explore entrepreneurial training as a rehabilitation option to reduce recidivism for juvenile offenders. The problem is that juvenile offenders return to incarceration at alarming rates. The United States record of rehabilitating juvenile offenders has been challenging since its inception of Juvenile Court in 1899. In 2019, the number of youth recidivating nationally was 55% while in California the recidivism rate for youth was 74.2%. The methodology of the study was a Delphi panel of 14 subject matter experts who had an average of 25 years of experience working with juvenile offenders in California. The study examined the thoughts and professional experiences of the subject matter experts, also known as panelists. Four questions were posed to the panelists over three Delphi “rounds” regarding the concept of entrepreneurial training as a rehabilitation option for juvenile offenders. A major finding was that the panelists did not agree on the California’s definition of recidivism. Other significant findings concluded that the panelists agreed on the following: (a) curriculum topics for entrepreneurial training, (b) potential obstacles a young person may face while engaged in entrepreneurship training, and (c) the benefits of entrepreneurial training for the offender and community. The researcher concluded that (a) further research should include an actual study of an entrepreneurial program for juvenile offenders to measure outcomes of rehabilitation, recidivism, and benefits to the offender and community and (b) new untested concepts such as entrepreneurial training should be tried to find unconventional ways to help young people become successful after incarceration
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Public Administration
Public Administration, Criminology