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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 120672 Find in a Library
Title: Classifying Juveniles: A Formula for Case-by-Case Assessment
Journal: Corrections Today  Volume:51  Issue:7  Dated:(December 1989)  Pages:112,114,116
Author(s): S Guarino-Ghezzi
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 3
Type: Program Description (Model)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Caseworkers at Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) have designed an effective community-based classification system to provide systematic and statistically defensible techniques for deciding where to place juveniles.
Abstract: The DYS system assesses 11 items relating to the offending youth's delinquency record, prior placement record, and social history to determine the overall risk of recidivism. The placement decision is based on this factor; 90 percent of DYS youth are placed in community settings, including highly structured group homes, outreach and tracking programs, and at-home placement. Once an agency is committed to a long-term classification development project, the system must be adapted to the jurisdiction's laws, organization, policies, resources, and offenders. The missions of community-based corrections are risk, treatment, and administrative control. Once the overall structure of the model is determined, the risk model must be constructed, based on data from the agency's offender population, such as number of prior offenses, school behavior, drug and alcohol use, parental supervision, and age of first offense. The assessment tool must maximize predictive validity, face validity, and reliability. Treatment assessment can be adapted from other jurisdictions to set a policy whereby a total treatment score beyond a certain point would override a risk score to ensure that high-need, low-risk youth would be considered for highly structured placements. Administrative control factors, such as prior histories of AWOL or staff assault, community and school reactions, and possible gang involvement, also need to be considered. Agencies must classify available programs according to the level of risk they can accommodate, based on their structure, policies, staffing, and level of security. 1 table, 2 figures.
Main Term(s): Juvenile offender classification
Index Term(s): Community-based corrections (juvenile); Massachusetts
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