U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Youth Perspectives on Their Relationships With Staff in Juvenile Correction Settings and Perceived Likelihood of Success on Release

NCJ Number
Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice Volume: 7 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2009 Pages: 46-67
Shawn C. Marsh; William P. Evans
Date Published
January 2009
22 pages
This study examined youths’ perspectives on their relationships with staff in juvenile correctional settings as well as their perceived likelihood of success in adjustment after their release.
Three types of youth-staff relationships were identified based on the qualities of satisfaction, coping, and closeness. The relationship types are called “balanced” (high across the three dimensions); “practical” (low in closeness); and “engaged" (low in coping). On average, youth in the “balanced” group perceived the greatest likelihood of success on release. The “practical” group was somewhat less optimistic about their success upon release; and the “engaged" group was pessimistic about achieving a positive adjustment after release. The findings suggest an association between problem solving strategies used by staff in the relationship and a less positive forecast by youth about their future. Given these findings, it is reasonable to promote and provide training for youth-staff relationships that are “balanced” in nurturing satisfaction, coping, and closeness. Study data were collected in June and July 2006 through surveys of youth in selected juvenile correctional facilities in Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, and Oregon. The correctional staff that were the focus of the study consisted of frontline direct-care staff who were responsible for the daily supervision and rehabilitation of resident youth. A total of 543 youth participated in the study. The youth completed a 144-item instrument designed to assess youths’ experience in the facility, social networks, key personality traits, perceived likelihood of success, and fears and goals for the future. A youth mentoring relationship quality inventory developed by Rhodes et al. (2005) was used to explore how incarcerated youth perceived their relationship with a juvenile care worker to whom they usually turned for help and advice. 2 tables, 4 figures, 2 notes, and 68 references