Moroccan adolescent suspect offenders in the Netherlands: ethnic differences in offender profiles

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Ethnic minority youths are over-represented in the juvenile justice system in Western societies. However, research on the nature of crime committed by these youths is lacking. In the present study, offending patterns of incarcerated native Dutch adolescents and adolescents of Moroccan origin were compared. Criminal record data were used to examine the offence history of 291 incarcerated adolescents. Offender types were determined through latent class analysis. Adolescents of Moroccan origin were incarcerated more often, for more offences and at a younger age than native Dutch adolescents. A four-class model of offender types was found: property offenders, violent offenders, sexual offenders and arsonists. Property offenders were mainly Moroccan adolescents, the other offender types consisted predominantly of native Dutch adolescents. Moroccan adolescents in pre-trial arrest in the Netherlands can be characterized as early starting offenders who persist in being incarcerated for property-based crime.

Keywords: criminal records; ethnic background; juvenile offenders; offending behaviour; offending history

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Interdisciplinary Social Sciences,Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands 2: VU University, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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