The quality of life of young offenders in juvenile justice institutions


  • Nazirah Hassan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
  • Fauziah Ibrahim Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
  • Amry Minggo Jabatan Penjara Malaysia


Juvenile offenders, juvenile justice system, juvenile corrections, rehabilitation of young offenders, quality of prison life


The increasing number of youth crime and the escalating number of young people
involved with the juvenile justice system have challenged the established beliefs guiding
policy and practise with young offenders. This paper investigates the quality of life among
young offenders rehabilitated in juvenile justice institutions, and how they influence their
wellbeing and development. The study comprised a survey completed by 289 male and
female, young offenders, aged 12 to 21 years old, in 8 juvenile justice institutions in
Malaysia, using the Measuring Quality of Prison Life (MQPL). Based on the analyses,
the majority of young people perceived moderate levels of quality of life in the
institutions. Furthermore, seven significant dimensions of quality of life in the institutions
had a positive influence on the wellbeing and development of young people, including
respect, staff-inmate relationship, humanity, bureaucratic legitimacy, fairness, safety and
family contact. The study concluded that positive social climates in institutions are an
essential aspect of improving the effectiveness of institutions in rehabilitating young
people. In contrast, poor quality of life in the institutions may lead young people to
psychological distress and thus increase their risk of reoffending. The paper concludes
by recognizing the importance of policy improvement in the juvenile justice system.