The juveniles my program serves have changed. We now have more delinquent youth in our jurisdiction than anyone thought we would see just 5 years ago. How can I plan for the next 5 to 10 years to be sure my correctional program will be able to respond to the numbers of juveniles and the changing needs of the youth we serve?

Some youth just don't seem to make progress in our program. It's hard to understand their problems and needs and develop an effective case plan for them. How can we best assess and classify our youth and then provide or select the services they need?

We are now serving twice the number of youth our program was designed to help. We don't have enough staff or sufficient space to provide the kind of services the youth need. How can we either reduce the number of youth entering the program or expand our ability to serve more juveniles?

Our jurisdiction has just a few options for responding to delinquent youth. Many youth are not successful. Sometimes they are placed in more restrictive programs than might be necessary if we had other alternatives. How can we develop a system of graduated sanctions? How can we best help youth who have been removed from the community reintegrate successfully?

We often help the youth in our program through our case management and other services, but victims have told us their needs are not being met. Some of them talk about financial and emotional costs resulting from crimes committed by youth that no one helps them manage. Sometimes they would just like to know that a youth understands the harm he or she caused. How can our jurisdiction develop a youth corrections program based on Balanced and Restorative Justice principles?

The majority of youth coming into our corrections programs are male. However, in recent years we have seen increasing numbers of girls. How do their problems and needs differ from those of boys? What kind of special considerations and programs should we plan to meet girls' needs and help them achieve success?

Juvenile corrections professionals grapple with questions similar to these every day. Often they develop creative solutions to address various issues and problems within their programs and jurisdictions. However, sometimes they need some assistance to deal with the complex issues inherent in juvenile corrections. This technical assistance package helps jurisdictions or programs identify problems and needs for which they may require technical assistance and develop a plan for obtaining the needed help.

Scope of Technical Assistance for Juvenile Corrections

Technical assistance is a process of obtaining help to resolve a problem and/or create innovative approaches related to an aspect of juvenile corrections. Technical assistance may vary in its scope and intensity, and it should be developed and shaped to meet specific needs of a particular jurisdiction or program. In this manual, three levels of technical assistance are considered:

  • Limited technical assistance involves brief assistance to locate information—or a resource person who can supply information—related to specific questions. If limited technical assistance is sufficient, the jurisdiction or program will obtain answers to questions through information review or brief telephone consultation with resource persons.

  • Moderate technical assistance usually includes the information and resource persons described above. Often times, because juvenile justice system personnel have more significant issues or problems, the assistance includes an ongoing exchange with knowledgeable resource persons through telephone conversations and correspondence.

  • Onsite or longer term technical assistance is appropriate when the jurisdictional or program issues are significant and require face-to-face contact with consultants. This level usually requires one or more onsite meetings and ongoing followup through telephone conversations and written materials. Occasionally, this type of technical assistance may involve program personnel visiting another site to see a program in operation and confer with another program's personnel.

How This Manual Helps

This manual helps juvenile justice system personnel plan for, obtain, and use the most time- and cost-effective technical assistance available to meet their needs. For limited and some moderate technical assistance needs, it will serve primarily as an information resource. However, for onsite or longer term technical assistance, the manual is designed as a working document. There are pages at the end of each chapter to be used by personnel for assessing their needs or problems and planning strategies to address their technical assistance needs. These pages can be used, as they fit the technical assistance needs of a jurisdiction or program, to develop a technical assistance plan and strategy for change. Some activities are recommended for use with staff and/or other stakeholders to facilitate the assessment and planning process.

The manual provides information and materials on the following topics:

Chapter 1—The Technical Assistance Process

This chapter discusses how juvenile justice system personnel identify a problem, involve appropriate personnel and stakeholders in assessing needs and making a commitment to change, and work toward effective solutions to identified problems.

Chapter 2—Jurisdictional and Program Self-Assessment

Juvenile justice professionals, agencies, or jurisdictions may use this chapter to assess programs, problems, and needs. It contains two major components:

  • An Evolving Juvenile Corrections System. This segment provides a brief historical overview, discusses the mission and purpose of the juvenile justice system, and describes present programs and services.

  • Juveniles and the Offenses They Commit. This component reviews national data and trends on juvenile offenders and offenses. The segment provides a point of comparison for jurisdictions or programs to review their own population and the needs of youth they serve.

Chapters 3 to 5—Technical Assistance Topics

Jurisdictions or programs may need technical assistance on a broad range of topics related to juvenile corrections. In an effort to address the most common topic areas in which many technical assistance needs fall, an advisory group for this manual sorted through information on and experiences in juvenile corrections. These chapters describe three of these areas and pose questions for jurisdictional or program consideration. Each chapter contains references with suggested readings about the topic. The three chapters include the following:

Chapter 3—Balanced and Restorative Juvenile Corrections.

Chapter 4—Planning and Forecasting for Juvenile Corrections.

Chapter 5—Case Assessment, Classification, and Management.

Chapter 6—Resources for Technical Assistance

This chapter provides various resources that may be useful to juvenile programs or jurisdictions needing technical assistance. The information lists OJJDP grantees and contractors and includes sample formats for technical assistance materials.

Previous Contents Next

Jurisdictional Technical Assistance Package for Juvenile Corrections Report - December 2000