Juvenile Delinquency and Community Orientated Programs
Are community based correction programs effective? The effectiveness of juvenile corrections efforts has always been brought into question, with many expressing a nothing works defeatist attitude, but I feel that community based juvenile corrections programs are definitely effective. Since methodologies, such as meta analysis have become popular, which allow more in depth and detailed studies, with higher data input, the results have begun to look very positive regarding the successes of juvenile community based correction programs. Author James C Howell, in his book ‘Preventing and Reducing Juvenile Delinquency’ cites “a Meta analysis of more than 500 juvenile justice programs, and Lipsey (2007) found that most of them do reduce recidivism” (Howell.2008.p.191). Furthermore, Howell states that” Several studies have shown that the juvenile justice system is effective with violent and chronic offenders” (ibid). It was shown through these studies that the best of these programs “were capable of reducing recidivism rates by as much as 49 %”( Howell.2007.191). Howell claims that community based programs are even more widely used based on Lipsey& Wilson (1998) proof of “effectiveness even with serious violent offenders” (Howell.2007.192).
What is the essential link to the success of these programs? Of course the link is the community, and a desire to best serve and transition youth from confinement within institutional environments. Utilizing all of the professional skills and tools available, to rehabilitate them onto a path where they will live crime free, productive lives. Through individual and group programs and activities, including educational opportunities, alcohol and drug abuse counseling, and therapies such as, FFT Functional Family Therapy, and ART, aggression replacement training, just to name a couple.
What type of youth should be placed in community based corrections programs? Community based programs are alternative, non institutional facilities that are useful for adults as well as juveniles, that have been deemed suitable for placement within a community. Juveniles that have been adjudicated delinquent, or have been convicted at trial would be eligible for placement within a community based juvenile corrections program. Ideally the most suitable types of those eligible that should be diverted to community based corrections would be first offenders, and juveniles that have committed minor offenses, these are the youth with the best chance for rehabilitation, and the lowest risk for recidivism.
Howell James C. (2008) Preventing and Reducing Juvenile Delinquency: A
Comprehensive Framework. Edition: 2, illustrated, Published by SAGE.