Treatment for serious juvenile offenders

Program basics

  • Apply psychological, social, and educational interventions to incarcerated juvenile offenders to boost prosocial attitudes and behaviors and ultimately reduce recidivism
  • May include behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, and cognitive, educational, and non-behavioral treatments
  • Aimed at offenders who have committed serious crimes (for example, murder, assault, arson)

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)

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Proven (highest tier)

Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by the National Institute of Justice


Target population

At-risk youth

Program cost

Not available

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active

Not available

Outcomes and impact

  • Lower rates of recidivism
  • Particularly effective at lowering rates of serious recidivism, like relapsing into violent crime

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Of the various forms of therapy tested, cognitive therapy has demonstrated the strongest results.
  • Cognitive therapy teaches participants to recognize, control, and reframe thought patterns.
  • Therapy can also provide social skills development, anger management techniques, and critical reasoning and creative thinking development.
  • Educative non-structured treatment programs are far less likely to reduce recidivism.

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