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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 194539 Find in a Library
Title: Understanding and Treating Juvenile Offenders: A Review of Current Knowledge and Future Directions
Journal: Aggression and Violent Behavior  Volume:7  Issue:2  Dated:March-April 2002  Pages:125-143
Author(s): Susan M. Tarolla; Eric F. Wagner; Jonathan Rabinowitz; Jonathan G. Tubman
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 19
Type: Literature Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article presents several key issues pertaining to treatment of juvenile offenders.
Abstract: Delinquency is multidetermined by the reciprocal and dynamic interplay of individual characteristics and key social systems of youths such as their families, peer groups, schools, and communities. The most reliable risk factors for and predictors of juvenile criminal activity involve traits, characteristics, and behaviors within individual, family, peer, school, neighborhood, and community systems. Without intervention, juvenile offending has been found to be highly resistant to change, and antisocial behavior often continues into adulthood. Traditional approaches to treating juvenile offending have been ineffective. The probability of treatment failure increases as a function of low socioeconomic status, social isolation, or both. Juvenile offenders experience abuse, abandonment, family and community violence, social maladaptation, and substance use problems. They are commonly described as a population of multiproblem, vulnerable youth with persistent co-occurring problems such as psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and recurrent victimization. Six primary categories of offender treatment are reviewed: family/systems therapy, parent and social skills training, cognitive-behavioral treatment, peer group counseling, wilderness programs, and boot camps. The gaps in knowledge and research are evident in the review of the literature. Improvements in cultural and developmental sensitivity are essential. There is a relative lack of data on youth under 12 years old. Treatment effectiveness with different populations and various communities also needs to be investigated. Factors related to the escalation of offending need to be better understood, and more research related to desistance from offending needs to be done. Assessment and treatment need to be responsive to comorbid psychological conditions and other co-occurring problems. Longitudinal studies are necessary to uncover essential information on issues such as critical risk and protective factors. 2 tables, 106 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile treatment evaluation; Juvenile treatment methods
Index Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile health services; Juvenile psychological evaluation; Juvenile rehabilitation; Multiproblem juveniles; Treatment offender matching
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