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Juvenile Reentry and Aftercare

NCJ Number
Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy Volume: 16 Dated: 2009 Pages: 655-667
David M. Altschuler
Date Published
13 pages
In exploring the juvenile justice system's often conflicting goals of rehabilitation, retribution, and deterrence, this article identifies the long-term detrimental effects of confining juveniles and emphasizes the importance of effective reintegration into the community for juveniles released from confinement.
Some research suggests that time spent incarcerated contributes to reoffending. Other research indicates that the most effective treatment programs are those conducted outside of the structures and policies of the justice system. Some research indicates that imprisonment does not influence recidivism at all. Research does indicate that succeeding economically and remaining crime-free are not advanced when pathways to legitimate employment are blocked, or when the skills required for well-paying jobs are not cultivated through education and training. It is clear, therefore, that when incarceration is used in the official response to youths' criminal behavior, time in incarceration must be used to improve vocational skills, knowledge, and positive social interactions. Further, upon release from incarceration, the positive skill-building and vocational training that occurred while confined must be continued and applied in a community setting. The term "reintegration" involves improving the potential for success once a confined offender returns to his/her community. Such continuity of care involves five components: continuity of control, continuity in the range of services provided in the community, continuity in program and service content, continuity of social environment, and continuity of attachment. Underlying these components is the assumption that any positive changes experienced by juveniles in confinement cannot lead to permanent change if they are not supported, advanced, implemented, and rewarded in the community after confinement. In discussing ways to increase the likelihood that this will happen, this article promotes the use of cognitive-behavioral approaches, the selection and cross-training of institutional and community aftercare staff, and enlightened case management. 50 footnotes