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Advances in the Assessment and Treatment of Juvenile Offenders (From UNAFEI: Annual Report for 2007 and Resource Material Series No. 75, P 81-104, 2008, Grace Lord, ed. See NCJ-229038)

NCJ Number
Dr. Robert D. Hoge
Date Published
August 2008
24 pages
This paper provides an overview of best practices in the assessment and treatment of juvenile offenders, based primarily on recent theory and research in criminology and psychology.
The paper describes alternative approaches to the treatment of offenders within juvenile justice systems. One approach is the child welfare and rehabilitation model, whose goal is to control youths' antisocial behavior under the assumption that this can be best achieved by improving their behavioral and emotional competencies as well as deficits in their environment. A second approach is the corporatist model, which shares the goals of the previous model but departs from it by emphasizing the integration of all services for children. A third model is the justice model, which shifts from a concern for the needs of the individual offender and towards the criminal act and appropriate legal responses to it. The modified justice model combines elements of both the child welfare and justice models. The crime control model shares with the justice model a focus on formal legal procedures; however, the primary concern in this model is the use of legal sanctions against offenders that ensure the protection of society. Although arguments can be developed for and against all of the aforementioned models, the fundamental assumption of this paper is that current theory and research supports a child welfare and rehabilitation orientation as the optimal means for addressing youths' antisocial behavior. Ideally, this model should be delivered in the larger context of the education, mental health, and social service systems; however, it can be delivered in the context of the justice model so long as the focus is on addressing deficits and needs of the youth. Implementing this preferred model does not mean the youth is not held accountable for his/her actions; however, accountability does not require harsh punishment. 1 table, 58 references, and appended example of a comprehensive psychological assessment battery