Characteristics of Effective Juvenile Justice Programs

While several studies have dispelled arguments linking youthful predators to dramatic increases in violent crime in the United States (see, for example, Howell, Krisberg, and Jones, 1995; Kempf-Leonard, Tracy, and Howell, 2001; Howell, 2003), others provide evidence of successful juvenile justice programs, and program elements linked to successful program outcomes (e.g., reduced recidivism).

Howell (2001) describes several successful youth prevention and intervention programs, noting that they use comprehensive service models that integrate prevention, early intervention, graduated sanctions, and aftercare. Krisberg and Austin (1998) assessed Massachusetts' removal of nearly 1,000 juveniles from State training schools and their placement in a diverse array of community programs, noting that the continued success of the Massachusetts de-institutionalization policy lies in the small size of rehabilitation programs, and the selective and cost-effective use of secure confinement.