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Transition From Secure Care to the Community: Significant Issues for Youth in Detention

NCJ Number
Journal of Correctional Education Volume: 56 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2005 Pages: 372-388
Heather M. Baltodano; Derrick Platt; Christopher W. Roberts
Date Published
December 2005
17 pages
This study examined detained youth on their perceptions of an integrated transition process, the effectiveness of transition services, and characteristics of programs they felt were beneficial.
Research indicates that of the 2.8 million youth arrested each year, around 90,000 are incarcerated in public and private detention and correctional institutions throughout the United States. It has been postulated that intense programmatic intervention while a youth is incarcerated and during transition to the community can support positive outcomes in the areas of family and peer relations, education, and employment, as well as reduce substance abuse, mental health problems, and recidivism. One of the major goals in developing transition plans for youth exiting detention is to reduce the likelihood of recidivism. There have been many transition and recidivism research studies evaluating the effectiveness of interventions and predictors of recidivism, however, there is limited research on the effectiveness of transition services and the transition process from the youth’s perspective. This study examined the youth’s perspective on transition, transition services, barriers to successful transition, and programs they felt would be beneficial in increasing their likelihood for success. A survey was conducted and completed by 120 juvenile detainees from a large urban county detention facility in Arizona. The results indicate that the majority of the youth did not experience difficulty transitioning back to school. However, of those that did experience difficulty, the majority indicated that they had missed too much work to make up. In addition, youth who anticipated returning home or living with relatives had a significantly lower mean number of times detained than those who anticipated less stable post detention placements. Importantly, when youth do not understand transition, transition is often superficial and ultimately unsuccessful. In making transition a success, communication is critical. Tables and references