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Juvenile Justice: Community Treatment - Conclusion

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The real challenge for the juvenile justice system is to strike a cost-effective balance among the various alternative approaches. While the political climate and public rhetoric often reduce the issue to an overly simplistic battle between "get tough" conservatives and "bleeding heart" liberals, the real question is what works best, for what kinds of youth, under what conditions. The best systems seem to employ multiple response options flexibly along a wide continuum of restrictiveness, accompanied by assessment procedures that tailor responses to the unique situations of individuals, and monitored by careful evaluation of outcomes.

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