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Juvenile Justice: Institutions - Effectiveness Of Institutions

youths component interventions art

Evaluations of large congregate training schools report consistently negative findings. Most state training schools do not reduce recidivism rates and fall short in reforming multiple offenders.

However, recent research on certain components of juvenile correctional programs indicates that some interventions do produce positive effects on the behavior of confined youths. Aggression Replacement Training (ART) is one of a number of cognitive behavioral interventions that tries to reduce the antisocial behavior that many youths bring into confinement programs and encourage pro-social behavior. ART has an anger control component that helps the eight to ten participants in a group session understand what triggers their anger and how to control their reactions. The "skill-streaming" behavioral component teaches a series of pro-social skills through modeling, role playing, and performance feedback from others in the group. In the moral reasoning component, participants work through cognitive conflict through "dilemma" discussion groups. Results on the studies of ART have been consistently positive for skill acquisition. Aggressive adolescents have demonstrated the ability to learn a broad array of previously unavailable interpersonal, aggression-management, affect-relevant, and related psychological competencies (Goldstein and Glick). Integrating these new skills into their overall behavior for an extended period of time and maintaining the change after returning to the community has had mixed results.

Many juvenile confinement facilities have developed a combination of clinical and educational interventions for subgroups of youths, such as sex offenders, substance abusers, and youths with mental health problems who have been committed to youth correctional agencies. Some of these specialized program components have been written up as "promising approaches" but the majority of them have not been evaluated. There is a continuing need for states and the federal OJJDP to conduct and publicize research that acknowledges how humane conditions and well-designed and managed programs can lower recidivism rates and enhance public safety.

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about 9 years ago

This is of particular interest to me - my daughter is currently in a "commitment" program - originally was to be 4-6 mos. but she has to do 9 mos. I wonder of its potential effectiveness - will anything be different? Will life be better or worse? Will there be always be someone watching from now on? Expecting a whole new set of problems. Is there any research being done? What? Where? Anyone trying to actually help the kids?