Latessa, Edward J.
"As an alternative to traditional juvenile courts, juvenile drug courts attempt to provide substance abuse treatment, sanctions, and incentives to rehabilitate nonviolent drug-involved youth, empower families to support them in this process, and prevent recidivism. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) sponsored a multisite study of juvenile drug courts to examine the ability of these courts to reduce recidivism and improve youth’s social functioning, and to determine whether these programs use evidence-based practices in their treatment services. This bulletin provides an overview of the findings" (p. 1). The results from this multi-site study does not support the efficacy of juvenile drug courts. In fact, juveniles who were drug court participants had higher recidivism rates than youth on probation. Based on the process evaluation, recommendations are provided for improving juvenile drug courts.
This is a great introduction about how to effectively reduce youthful offender recidivism. Topics discussed include: the meaning of evidence based practice (EBP); five things EBP requires; what research tells us; principles for effective interventions—risk (who), need (what), treatment (how), and fidelity (how well); risk principle—"Risk refers to the risk of reoffending not the seriousness of the offense", target higher risk youth, provide most intensive interventions to higher risk youth, and providing intensive treatment for low risk youth will often increase their recidivism; risk and need factors; the necessity for assessments--Youthful Level of Service/Case Management Inventory, Youth Assessment and Screening Instrument (YASI), and the Ohio Youth Assessment System (OYAS); dynamic and static factors; treatment principle—most effective are behavioral models (i.e., structured social learning, family-based intervention, and cognitive intervention); ineffective approaches with youthful offenders; fidelity principle—ensuring the program is implemented as it was designed; a new model of probation officer (PO) and offender interaction--Effective Practices in Correctional Supervision (EPICS); and some lessons learned from research.