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OJJDP Juvenile Justice Bulletin

  • Underage Drinking: Practice Guidelines for Community Corrections

    'In this bulletin, the authors describe 10 guidelines for community supervision professionals who regularly work with underage drinkers. These guidelines are derived from evidence-based practices. They help professionals develop a plan for screening underage drinkers, determine appropriate responses, create a case plan, and provide treatment' (p. 1). These guidelines are: conduct screening for alcohol problems at first and subsequent contacts between underage drinkers and the justice system; assess the youth's risk and need; assess youth for strengths and assets; assess youth for substance abuse problems; determine the most appropriate system-level response and individual-level intervention(s) and develop an individualized case plan; identify each offender's readiness to change and prompt him or her to make positive changes using motivational interviewing techniques; refer underage drinking offenders with alcohol disorders to appropriate alcohol treatment and monitor their attendance and participation; engage family and social support networks in the supervision process; monitor compliance with supervision conditions and case plan expectations; and apply sanctions for noncompliance when necessary, and increase positive reinforcement.

  • The Northwestern Juvenile Project: Overview

    “Comprehensive, accurate, and reliable data are needed to guide the development of innovative juvenile justice policy. NJP provides empirical evidence that communities can use to develop and provide appropriate services within detention centers. Because the study is longitudinal, it also provides information about the long-term outcomes of these youth after they leave detention. Findings from NJP [Northwestern Juvenile Project] ... provide important information on how to facilitate successful reentry into the community and successful transition to adulthood for youth in the juvenile justice system” (p. 3). Sections of this overview of NJP include: highlights; background; differences between NJP and other longitudinal studies of psychiatric disorder among detained youth; NJP’s overall approach and goals; sampling and interview methods; considerations for measurement; key areas of measurement; overview of selected findings for characteristics of youth in detention and key outcomes of study participants; and summary.

  • Functional Impairment in Delinquent Youth

    “Research suggests that incarcerated youth have difficulty functioning in society as they age. This study reveals that 3 years after detention, most youth struggle in one or more life domains, and one in five youth is severely impaired [they face extreme difficulties in dealing with social, psychiatric, and academic issues from day-to-day] ... Juvenile justice organizations, community groups, law enforcement, and corrections agencies must invest in targeted, comprehensive strategies to give these youth a chance to experience productive and healthy lives” (p. 3). The Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS) was used to rate individuals on eight domains of function-school/work, home, community, behavior towards others, moods/emotions, self-harm, substance use, and rational thinking. The authors examined impairment overall, impairment within domains, differences by age, gender, and race/ethnicity, and functional impairment in males and their incarceration status. Recommendations suggested for public policy initiatives are: connect more youth with community services after detention; target services to those youth with the greatest need; and make sure long-term interventions are provided.

  • Children's Exposure to Violence and the Intersection Between Delinquency and Victimization

    The use of the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV) to determine the point at which “victimization and delinquency converge or diverge among youth of different ages” is explained (p. 2).

    Sections of this bulletin include:

    • defining delinquents, victims, and delinquent-victims in the NatSCEV-history of the survey, definition of victimized versus non victimized youth, definition of delinquent versus non-delinquent youth, categories of delinquent-victims, delinquent youth, and youth who are primarily victims;
    • findings by gender and typology group for delinquents, victims, and delinquent-victims-victimization and delinquency patterns among boys, among girls, and findings regarding other dimensions of adversity;
    • and implications for adolescent development and for intervention and delinquency-age onset of increasing risk for victimization and delinquency, increased risk of both delinquency and victimization for delinquent-victims, and timing of interventions to reduce victimization and delinquency.
  • Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors Among Detained Youth

    If you work with justice-involved juvenile, you need to read this bulletin. "Incarcerated youth die by suicide at a rate two to three times higher than that of youth in the general population. In this bulletin, the authors examine suicidal thoughts and behaviors among 1,829 youth ages 10 to 18 in the Northwestern Juvenile Project-a longitudinal study of youth detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago, IL (p. 1). Findings are presented for: hopelessness; thoughts about death and dying; thoughts about suicide; suicide plan; telling someone about suicidal thoughts; suicide attempts; and psychiatric disorders that may increase the odds of suicide attempts. Additional discussion concerns demographic characteristics and suicide risk, and psychiatric disorders and suicide risk. Based on the results, detention facilities need to systematically screen juveniles for suicide risk within 24 hours of arrival if not sooner, and increase the availability of psychiatric services.

  • Psychosocial Maturity and Desistance From Crime in a Sample of Serious Juvenile Offenders

    "Understanding why most juvenile offenders desist from antisocial activity as a part of the normative transition into adulthood may provide important insights into the design of interventions aimed at encouraging desistance ... This study explores the processes through which juvenile offenders desist from crime and delinquency" (p. 2). Sections of this bulletin include: theories of psychosocial maturation process; models of psychosocial maturity; measuring the components of psychosocial maturity--temperance, perspective, and responsibility; measuring antisocial behavior; identifying trajectories of antisocial behavior; patterns of change in psychosocial maturity over time; psychosocial maturation and patterns of offending; and summary. This bulletin "provides evidence that, just as immaturity is an important contributor to the emergence of much adolescent misbehavior, maturity is an important contributor to its cessation. This observation provides an important complement to models of desistance from crime that emphasize individuals’ entrance into adult roles and the fact that the demands of these roles are incompatible with a criminal lifestyle ... Perhaps the most important lesson learned from these analyses is that the vast majority of juvenile offenders grow out of antisocial activity as they make the transition to adulthood; most juvenile offending is, in fact, limited to adolescence (i.e., these offenders do not persist into adulthood) (p. 9).