Five Things About Juvenile Delinquency Intervention and Treatment




Juvenile delinquency intervention and treatment programs have the broad goals of preventing crime and reducing recidivism by providing treatment and services to youth who have committed crimes.


The five statements below are based on practices and programs rated by CrimeSolutions.[1]


1. Juvenile awareness programs may be ineffective and potentially harmful.

Juvenile awareness programs — like Scared Straight — involve organized visits to adult prison facilities for adjudicated youth and youth at risk of adjudication. Based on the review and rating by CrimeSolutions of two meta-analyses of existing research, youth participating in these types of programs were more likely to commit offenses in the future than adjudicated youth and youth at risk of adjudication who did not. Consequently, recidivism rates were, on average, higher for participants compared to juveniles who went through regular case processing.


The results suggest that not only are juvenile awareness programs ineffective at deterring youth from committing crimes, but youth exposed to them are more likely to commit offenses in the future.


Read the practice profile Juvenile Awareness Programs (Scared Straight) to learn more.


2. Cognitive behavioral therapy can effectively reduce aggression in children and adolescents.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a problem-focused, therapeutic approach that attempts to help people identify and change the dysfunctional beliefs, thoughts, and patterns that contribute to their problem behaviors. CBT programs are delivered in various settings, including juvenile detention facilities. Based on the review and rating by CrimeSolutions of two meta-analyses of existing research, a variant of CBT focused specifically on children and adolescents who have anger-related problems is effective for reducing aggression and anger expression, and for improving self-control, problem-solving, and social competencies.


Read the practice profile Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anger-Related Problems in Children and Adolescents to learn more.


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