Reducing Recidivism Among Youthful Offenders: Evidence-Based Practice Strategies

Wednesday, 24 July 2013: 1:50 PM

Kate Shade, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, CA

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to list four evidence-based treatment modalities aimed at reducing recidivism among youthful offenders

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to define each treatment approach

In the United States, housing youth in prison with an orientation toward punishment is becoming a thing of the past. Instead, the justice system is returning to a rehabilitation model (Mendel, 2010). However, the U.S. continues to incarcerate more youth than any other country in the world (Raphael, 2011). Effective treatment programs are limited in number and are costly. A meta-analysis of interventions for youthful offenders determined that greater than 50% of the juveniles incarcerated in the U.S. return to the justice system as adults (Lipsey, 2009). The purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview of the current literature about evidence-based treatment of youthful offenders. A search of several databases was conducted using the terms youth or juvenile, offender or offending, delinquency, incarceration, juvenile justice system, and recidivism. Four treatment modalities were described in the literature: family-focused treatment, cognitive-behavioral strategies, trauma-focused therapy, and gender-informed care. These interventions will be described, evidence of their effectiveness will be summarized, and gaps in the literature will be highlighted. It is critical that clinicians, researchers, and educators work together to ensure that youth involved in the justice system receive effective treatment. When one juvenile desists from crime, there is a savings of up to $5.5 million U.S. dollars over his lifetime (Cohen & Piquero, 2009).