skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 70777 Find in a Library
Title: Massachusetts Experience, According to Preliminary Reports of the Center for Criminal Justice of the Harvard Law School
Journal: Annales de Vaucresson  Issue:16  Dated:(1979)  Pages:15-39
Author(s): L E Ohlin; A D Miller; R B Coates
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 24
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: France
Annotation: A summary of five reports by Harvard Law School's Center for Criminal Justice on reform of Massachusetts juvenile corrections, on community-based corrections as an alternative to institutionalization, and on recidivism statistics is presented.
Abstract: The radical reform of the Massachusetts Youth Correctional System was undertaken by Mr. Miller, the new head of Youth Services. From 1969 on, Miller sought to humanize the treatment of juvenile delinquents by transforming existing institutions, then moving correctional efforts into the community. While stressing social defense, the approach intends to rehabilitate and to reintegrate juveniles, modifying their attitudes towards themselves and their environments. Evaluation of 13 programs, 11 of them residential, was done to determine whether they satisfy the objectives of the reform. According to the evaluation, the programs are well supervised, and juveniles particularly favor the structured residential programs. Reintegration has proved the most difficult objective to achieve, as structured programs take much of the staff time which might otherwise be devoted to developing outside relationships for residents. To match juveniles to programs, the known strong and weak points of the programs should be considered in placing each juvenile and a second placement should be made if necessary. Experiences of 372 juveniles entering the system between January 1973 and December 1974 are analyzed with regard to placement in detention and in programs. Character and extent of involvement in crime, but also social class and educational status affect detention decisions. Juveniles are the least satisfied with secure care programs (the most closed programs), while juveniles in foster care least expect to have further difficulties with the law. Paradoxically, juveniles placed in detention and in a noninstitutional treatment situation have a more positive view of themselves than those not detained and placed in an institutional treatment program. It is concluded that the first judicial measures make the most long-term impression on juvenile delinquents and are more important than the final placement of the individual. Recidivism rates are 60 percent for secure care, 27 percent for group homes, 19 percent for foster care, 23 percent for nonresidential programs, and 48 percent for no treatment. Elements most likely to affect recidivism are of residence placement in detention and placement in a closed facility. Community resistance to treatment programs can be reduced by giving the program facility a specific image, by limiting resident's outside connections to a small number of individuals, or by expanding interaction to the community at large, depending on the type and class of community involved. --in French.
Index Term(s): Community-based corrections (juvenile); Correctional reform; Juvenile correctional facilities; Juvenile detention; Juvenile foster homes; Juvenile group houses; Massachusetts; Program evaluation
Note: Part of an international seminar held at Louvain-La-Neuve from May 18-20, 1978, on the theme of institutional placement.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.