Juvenile Justice Professionals
There are various evidence-based practice principles and rehabilitative
approaches recommended by professionals for successfully dealing with
juvenile offenders as presented by Bartollas & Miller (2011), they
1. Target criminogenic needs: effective programs target factors
associated with offending which can be changed.
2. Target through assessment of risk and need target programs to high
risk offenders: Assessing risk provides an appraisal of the risk
principle, which stipulates that, high risk offenders have higher
chances of reoffending if not treated than low risk offenders. The Level
of Service Inventory-Revised (LSI-R) assists in determining those
juvenile offenders who should be given the first priority to treatment
despite their specific problem area.
3. Base design and implementation on a proven theoretical model: Good
programs operate within the settings of proven theory of criminal
behavior. These evidence based theories include cognitive-behavioral and
4. Use a cognitive behavioral approach: behavior and thinking are
interrelated. Juvenile offenders engage in crime because their thinking
is like of criminals. The first step towards changing crooked behavior
is through changing their thinking. Effective approaches aim at altering
the values, cognition, attitudes and expectations of the offender, which
encourage antisocial behavior.
5. Disrupt the delinquency network: Effective approaches aim at
providing a structure that alters the delinquency network by encouraging
offenders to be in places or with people dominated by pro-social
activities. The programs also enlighten offenders on the dangers of
associating them with criminals.
6. Provide intensive services: Good programs take most of the
offender’s time in an aim of influencing behavior change. Usually they
last from three to nine months depending on the specific needs of the
7. Match offender’s personality and learning style with appropriate
program setting approaches: also referred to as the ‘responsivity’
that focus on linking learning and personality of the youth with their
environment or situations.
8. Should include a relapse prevention program: prevention of relapse
should be considered in training and in the community wherever possible.
It should consist of rehearsal of alternative pro-social responses,
friends and family training to offer reinforcement for pro-social
behavior, rewarding pro-social behavior and providing booster sessions
to juvenile offenders in line with the formal phase of treatment.
9. Integrate with community based services: an effective program should
refer juveniles to community programs with good reputation.
10. Reinforce integrity of service: effective programs progressively
monitor organizational processes such as program development, staff
development and training and organization structure among others.
The above principles are achievable in evidence based practice if
comprehensively followed. The principles help in addressing the
underlying problems, as well as focusing on the future impact of the
rehabilitation to the offenders and the community (Bartollas & Miller,
2011). This unique approach by these principles in evidence-based
practice for juvenile justice ensures that the problem of juvenile
offenders is approached in a comprehensive way (Serin, 2005).
Bartollas, C., & Miller, S. (2011). Juvenile justice in America (6th
ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Serin, R. (2005). Evidence-Based Practice: Principles for Enhancing
Correctional Results in Prisons. Discussion paper prepared under
contract for National Institute of Corrections. Retrieved HYPERLINK
http://static.nicic.gov/Library/021139.pdf (Accessed 30/11/13).
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