Date of Conferral





Criminal Justice


Carolyn Dennis


Juvenile delinquency and recidivism have been consistent issues that seem to continually produce substantial numbers. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine learning disabilities among juveniles and determine their statistical significance to delinquency and recidivism. Durkheim’s theory of anomie and Merton’s anomie/strain theory were used as the theoretical framework to guide the study. Archived cases for 15,900 juveniles, 2,633 of whom were learning disabled, were collected from the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and the South Carolina Department of Education. To provide additional context, age, race, and sex were also analyzed. Chi-square tests were used to analyze the data. The results showed that there was no statistical significance in juveniles with learning disabilities becoming delinquent versus those lacking learning disabilities. However, there was a statistical significance for juveniles with learning disabilities succumbing to recidivism versus those without learning disabilities. The positive social change implications of this study include recognizing the juvenile learning-disabled population and their contribution to the numbers of incarcerated juveniles and recidivism. This recognition could serve as a starting point for juvenile justice systems and education departments in the way of an overlooked population. From this point these stakeholders could determine if more tailored educational and diversion programs would serve as a way to lessen the number of learning-disabled juveniles becoming incarcerated and in turn recidivism.