Treatment for serious juvenile offenders

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help address educational disparities, promote healthy childhood environments, and prevent violence. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve these outcomes are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program overview

  • 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)
Target Population
At-risk individuals
Cost per Participant
Not available

Evidence and impacts


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

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

Best practices in 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.