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Primary Factors that Characterize Effective Interventions with Juvenile Offenders: A Meta-Analytic Overview

NCJ Number
Victims & Offenders Volume: 4 Issue: 2 Dated: April 2009 Pages: 124-147
Mark W. Lipsey
Date Published
April 2009
24 pages
This article examines various program factors that have been found to have effective outcomes with juvenile offenders.
Previous meta-analyses have identified many effective interventions for reducing the recidivism of juvenile offenders and various program factors that are associated with the best outcomes. Most of that work has been focused on only one intervention area and thus has limited scope. Notable exceptions are two relatively comprehensive meta-analyses that have identified a small number of factors or principles that appear to characterize the most effective programs. This paper presents a new analysis of data from one of those meta-analyses designed to test a broader range of intervention factors in a manner that allows identification of both the general principles and the distinct intervention types associated with the greatest reductions in recidivism. Only three factors emerged as major correlates of program effectiveness: a "therapeutic" intervention philosophy, serving high risk offenders, and quality of implementation. With other variables statistically controlled, relatively few differences were found in the effectiveness of different types of therapeutic interventions. (Published Abstract)