When Children Kill: A Social-Psychological Study of Youth Homicide

By Katharine D. Kelly and Mark Totten

© 2002

Youth homicide is an uncommon event, but it raises serious concerns. How should the criminal justice system respond to violent young offenders who take the lives of others? Public discourse focuses on the "depravity" of the acts and of the adolescents involved. The stress is on punishment and retribution. Yet, these children were not "born bad"; they were created, and the social context of their lives is usually ignored.

This qualitative study of young offenders convicted of murder and manslaughter takes on the challenge of examining the social-psychological development of young people convicted of homicide. In-depth interviews explore offenders' experiences in early childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood; their accounts of the homicides; and their life in custody. This research shows that the pathways leading young people to homicide are as varied as the types of killings perpetrated. Some were raised in social environments conducive to extreme violence where they witnessed, experienced, and were trained in the use of violence. Others found themselves frustrated and angry by their life circumstances. These experiences contributed to a lack of empathy for their victims and limited their insights into the enormity of their actions.

This groundbreaking book addresses a critical gap in the literature, highlighting the importance of community-based early intervention, prevention, assessment and rehabilitation. It is a valuable resource for students and professionals.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.0in
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SKU# HE000295

  • PUBLISHED MAY 2002

    From: $28.86

    Regular Price: $33.95

    ISBN 9781551114170
  • PUBLISHED APR 2013
    From: $27.95

Quick Overview

This groundbreaking book addresses a critical gap in the literature, highlighting the importance of community-based early intervention, prevention, assessment and rehabilitation.

When Children Kill: A Social-Psychological Study of Youth Homicide

By Katharine D. Kelly and Mark Totten

© 2002

Youth homicide is an uncommon event, but it raises serious concerns. How should the criminal justice system respond to violent young offenders who take the lives of others? Public discourse focuses on the "depravity" of the acts and of the adolescents involved. The stress is on punishment and retribution. Yet, these children were not "born bad"; they were created, and the social context of their lives is usually ignored.

This qualitative study of young offenders convicted of murder and manslaughter takes on the challenge of examining the social-psychological development of young people convicted of homicide. In-depth interviews explore offenders' experiences in early childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood; their accounts of the homicides; and their life in custody. This research shows that the pathways leading young people to homicide are as varied as the types of killings perpetrated. Some were raised in social environments conducive to extreme violence where they witnessed, experienced, and were trained in the use of violence. Others found themselves frustrated and angry by their life circumstances. These experiences contributed to a lack of empathy for their victims and limited their insights into the enormity of their actions.

This groundbreaking book addresses a critical gap in the literature, highlighting the importance of community-based early intervention, prevention, assessment and rehabilitation. It is a valuable resource for students and professionals.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    Katharine Kelly is an Associate Professor in the Pauline Jewett Institute of Women's and Gender Studies and in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University in Ottawa. She is co-author, with Mark Totten, of When Children Kill: A Social-Psychological Study of Youth Homicide (UTP, 2002).


    Mark D. Totten has worked with high-risk young people and families for eighteen years. Holding a Masters degree in Social Work and a Ph.D. in Sociology, he has taught at Carleton University and is Director of Research at the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa-Carleton. He was awarded the Patricia Allen Memorial Fund Scholarship for his research and is working on a second book on youth homicide.

  • Table of contents


    Acknowledgements

    Preface

    Chapter 1: Theories of Youth Homicide

    Chapter 2: Studying Youth Homicide

    Chapter 3: The Role of Early Childhood Experiences

    Chapter 4: Lessons Learned in Adolescence

    Chapter 5: Homicides in Context

    Chapter 6: Charged and Convicted: Experiences in Custody and the Community

    Chapter 7: Conclusion

    Appendix A: Youth Homicide Study Questionnaire

    Appendix B: Youth Homicide Study Informed Consent Form

    References

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