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Focus on Accountability: Best Practices for Juvenile Court and Probation

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 1999
12 pages
This report explains and provides guidance on the factors and processes involved in holding juvenile offenders accountable for their offenses, details the roles of the juvenile court and probation department, specifies the crucial elements of programs that promote accountability, and describes effective community-based initiatives.
The discussion notes that effective programs concentrate on changing behaviors and improving prosocial skills, focus on problem-solving with both juveniles and their families, have multiple modes of intervention, and are highly structured and intensive. It also notes that the juvenile's risks and needs must be identified and matched to the intervention. Juvenile courts and probation departments seeking to hold juveniles accountable and expand their sanctioning capacity should identify the problem to be addressed or the gaps in sanctions or services, identify possible approaches to address the need, review existing research regarding effective approaches, adapt programs known to be successful in other communities, commit to quality implementation of crucial components, conduct a process evaluation or monitor the program, and compare recidivism data with those for graduates of other programs handling similar offenders. Exemplary accountability-based community initiatives include diversion programs, mediation and restitution programs, specialized probation supervision such as school-based probation, and aftercare programs. The Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grants Program offers the opportunity for juvenile courts and probation departments to help direct resources toward the development of needed and effective programs, to benefit from the knowledge and dedication of other agencies, to provide better services to all clients, and to restore the public's faith in the juvenile justice system. Telephone numbers of cited programs and 39 references

Date Published: August 1, 1999