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Journal Article


Goodrich SA, Anderson SA, LaMotte V. J. Juv. Justice 2013; 3(2): 55-71.


(Copyright © 2013, In Public Domain (U.S. Department of Justice OJJDP), Publisher CSR)






Persons under the age of 18 comprise a sizable portion of those arrested in the United States each year, amounting to 12.5% of all arrests in 2010 (Puzzanchera & Kang, 2013). Recently, attention has been drawn to the notably high rate of negative interactions that occur between police officers and youth. Not only do these negative interactions influence the likelihood of arrest, but they may also decrease the likelihood that youth would seek help from police in the future (Friedman, Lurigio, Greenleaf, & Albertson, 2004). Police are critical gatekeepers between youth and the juvenile justice system, yet a great proportion of interactions between police and youth can be categorized as negative. Youth tend to hold more negative attitudes toward police than do adults. Because juvenile arrests increase the likelihood of negative outcomes for youth in later life, understanding the predictors of negative interactions is important. This study evaluated a prevention program designed to create positive interactions between police and youth in a non-law enforcement environment that included fun activities and community service projects. Using a pre-post design, survey data suggested that participation in the program did, in fact, improve police officers' and youths' attitudes toward each other. Participants reported enjoying the program and appreciating the opportunity to interact in this informal setting. Implications for delinquency prevention are explored.

Samantha A. Goodrich, Center for Applied Research in Human Development, University of Connecticut, Storrs; Stephen A. Anderson, Center for Applied Research in Human Development, University of Connecticut, Storrs; Valerie LaMotte, Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division, State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management. Samantha Goodrich is now a senior research and evaluation scientist at Lehigh Valley Health Network, Office of Health Systems Research and Innovation. Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Samantha A. Goodrich through her e-mail:

Keywords: police, juvenile, prevention programs, social factors, law enforcement, juvenile justice,

Language: en


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