Deterrence and Homeless Male Street Youths

The study explores the effects of the threat of formal punishment on the criminal behaviour of homeless male street youths paying particular attention to how these threats are shaped by their living conditions and other factors in their lifestyles. Results reveal that while many street youths fear legal sanctions, more serious offenders do not. Instead their fear of punishment is reduced by their poverty, drug use, association with criminal peers, and missing normative constraints. The study finds that serious street youth offenders are immersed in a lifestyle where crime, drugs, and criminal peers feed off of one another isolating them from conventional society. The findings suggest that traditional models of deterrence must be reexamined when dealing with extremely "at risk" groups.

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Canadian journal of criminology