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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77489 Find in a Library
Title: Crime and Delinquency - The Last Frontier?
Author(s): M A Milan; C K Long
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 37
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the magnitude of the crime and delinquency problem in the United States and describes representative behaviorally oriented programs for juvenile and adult offenders.
Abstract: Numerous statistics indicate the major extent of crime and delinquency in the United States and the apparent inability of existing legal, judicial, and correctional procedures to serve as either deterrents or modifiers of criminal behavior. Programs are needed to provide preventive intervention for those individuals who appear likely to engage in serious antisocial behavior. The strategies to be used in these programs will be determined by the model of human behavior on which they are based. While traditional psychological thought emphasizes a medical model of deviant behavior, a more recent approach emphasizes empiricism and objectivity and deals with specifiable relationships between acts and their consequences. This approach is variously labeled as behavior modification, contingency management, or behavior therapy. Prevention and remediation programs based on the behavioral approach have focused on both secondary and tertiary prevention of juvenile delinquency. Tertiary prevention programs, often using token economies, have been used in both long-term institutional settings and in a juvenile detention hall. Among secondary prevention programs with behavioral orientations for juveniles include Achievement Place in Lawrence, Kans. a home-based program designed by the Oregon Research Institute, and the Programming Interpersonal Curricula for Adolescents program. When compared with other programs, behaviorally oriented programs have experienced the most success, although success has at times been limited. Broader and more comprehensive programs are needed. Analysis of behaviorally oriented programs for adult offenders indicate that many strategies have successfully met their ojectives. Tertiary prevention programs included a token economy project for incarcerated adult male felons and a program for segregated prisoners in the Virginia correctional system. Community-based programs which emphasize secondary prevention have also been developed. Overall, the juvenile and adult justice systems represent the last frontiers for the behavioral approach that has proved so effective in education, mental health, mental retardation, and industry. Behavioral approaches have been misunderstood and resisted by the criminal justice system. A further problem is the existence of barriers to truly continuous care of offenders. Nevertheless, behavioral scientists have worked to meet limited objectives and have shown the potential of behaviorally oriented programs. Reference notes and 61 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Behavior modification; Inmate Programs; Offenders; Treatment
Note: From 'Behavioral Community Psychology - Progress and Prospects,' 1980, P 194-230.
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