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The Pathways to Desistance study is a multi-site, longitudinal study of serious adolescent offenders as they transition from adolescence into early adulthood. Between November, 2000 and January, 2003, 1,354 adjudicated youths from the juvenile and adult court systems in Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona (N = 654) and Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania (N = 700) were enrolled into the study.

The enrolled youth were at least 14 years old and under 18 years old at the time of their committing offense and were found guilty of a serious offense (predominantly felonies, with a few exceptions for some misdemeanor property offenses, sexual assault, or weapons offenses).

Each study participant was followed for a period of seven years past enrollment with the end result a comprehensive picture of life changes in a wide array of areas over the course of this time.

The study was designed to