A Handbook for Evidence-Based Juvenile Justice Systems

By (author) James C. Howell, Mark W. Lipsey, John J. Wilson

Publication date:

18 June 2014

Length of book:

200 pages

Publisher

Lexington Books

ISBN-13: 9780739187081

This handbook promotes a comprehensive strategy founded on evidence-based programming for juvenile justice systems to adopt or enhance their current system. The comprehensive strategy is supported strongly by the broad research base that is now available. This strategy recognizes, first, that a relatively small proportion of the juveniles who initially enter the juvenile justice system will prove to be serious, violent, or chronic offenders, but that group accounts for a large proportion of the overall amount of delinquency. An important component of a comprehensive evidence-based juvenile justice system, therefore, is distinguishing these offenders from others and focusing attention and resources on that smaller group. Second, a comprehensive strategy recognizes that serious, violent, or chronic delinquency emerges along developmental pathways that progress from less to more serious profiles of offending. Priority must be given to interrupting these offender careers by calibrating the level of supervision and control of the juveniles’ behavior to their level of risk. The third major component of a comprehensive strategy, therefore, is effective intervention programs that are capable of reducing the recidivism of those juveniles at risk for further delinquency. The Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders is an administrative framework that supports a continuum of services that parallel the development of offender careers. This framework emphasizes evidence-based programming specifically on recidivism reduction, and supports protocols for developing comprehensive treatment plans that match effective services with offender treatment needs along the life-course of delinquent careers, as they move from intake onward, to probation, community programs, confinement, and reentry. Juvenile justice systems will benefit from incorporation of a comprehensive strategy as provided in the handbook.
The authors shine a welcome light on the sometimes-murky question of evidence-based practice in the juvenile justice system. For students and academics, this handbook provides a cutting-edge distillation of current research. For policymakers and practitioners, it clears up much of the confusion surrounding evidence-based practice and offers a practical guide for improving outcomes and reducing costs.