Intervention, Prevention; Ages 6–17
- Antisocial/delinquent beliefs
- Conduct disorders (authority conflict/rebellious/stubborn/disruptive/antisocial)
- Early and persistent noncompliant behavior
- Early dating/sexual activity/fatherhood
- Early onset of aggression/violence
- Exposure to firearm violence
- Few social ties (involved in social activities, popularity)
- General delinquency involvement
- High alcohol/drug use
- Hyperactive (impulsive, attention problems)
- Lack of guilt and empathy
- Life stressors
- Low intelligence quotient
- Low perceived likelihood of being caught
- Makes excuses for delinquent behavior (neutralization)
- Medical/physical condition
- Mental health problems
- Physical violence/aggression
- Poor refusal skills
- Victim of child maltreatment
- Victimization and exposure to violence
- Violent victimization
- Abusive parents
- Antisocial parents
- Broken home/changes in caretaker
- Child maltreatment (abuse or neglect)
- Delinquent/gang-involved siblings
- Family history of problem behavior/criminal involvement
- Family poverty/low family socioeconomic status
- Family violence (child maltreatment, partner violence, conflict)
- Having a teenage mother
- High parental stress/maternal depression
- Lack of orderly and structured activities within the family
- Low attachment to child/adolescent
- Low parent education
- Parent proviolent attitudes
- Parental use of physical punishment/harsh and/or erratic discipline practices
- Poor parental supervision (control, monitoring, and child management)
- Poor parent-child relations or communication
- Sibling antisocial behavior
- Unhappy parents
- Frequent school transitions
- Frequent truancy/absences/suspensions; expelled from school; dropping out of school
- Identified as learning disabled
- Low academic aspirations
- Low achievement in school
- Low math achievement test scores (males)
- Low parent college expectations for child
- Low school attachment/bonding/motivation/commitment to school
- Old for grade/repeated a grade
- Poor school attitude/performance; academic failure
- Poor student-teacher relations
- Poorly defined rules and expectations for appropriate conduct
- Poorly organized and functioning schools/inadequate school climate/negative labeling by teachers
- Student failure in the first grade
- Availability and use of drugs in the neighborhood
- Availability of firearms
- Community disorganization
- Economic deprivation/poverty/residence in a disadvantaged neighborhood
- Exposure to violence and racial prejudice
- Feeling unsafe in the neighborhood
- High-crime neighborhood
- Low neighborhood attachment
- Neighborhood physical disorder
- Neighborhood youth in trouble
- Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency
- Association with gang-involved peers/relatives
- Gang membership
- Peer alcohol/drug use
- Peer rejection
Gender-Specific Programming—The program evaluation literature supports two important observations about the effectiveness of juvenile justice programs for girls versus boys. First, programs for serious and violent juvenile offenders appear to be as effective with girls as they are with boys. Second, everyday, practical juvenile justice system programs appear to be equally effective for both genders in reducing general delinquency. Nevertheless, there appears to be a small proportion of high-rate female offenders who present a special challenge to those who operate rehabilitation programs.
Practitioners and researchers have recommended the development of several types of female-specific programs:
- Programs that include treatment for neglect and sexual and physical victimization.
- Crisis intervention programs that provide short-term shelter, family mediation, and conflict resolution.
- Programs that engage girls in healthy relationships and provide social skills training.
- Programs that provide medical care for pregnant teens.
- Programs for unwed teenage mothers, including parent training and child-care relief time.
- Programs that build and preserve the teen mother-child bond.
- Programs for sexually active females (and males).
- Programs that include peer mediation to deal with conflicts concerning boyfriends and peer status.
- More community-based treatment options, as alternatives to detention and long-term incarceration.
A systematic review (Zahn et al., 2009) identified specific programs that illustrate Lipsey’s finding in meta-analyses: the best juvenile justice programs are about equally effective with boys and girls. The five programs that the Zahn et al. review found to be about as effective with girls as with boys are:
- Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC)
- Multisystemic Therapy (MST)
- Girls and Boys Town USA
- Family Solutions
- Indianapolis Restorative Justice Project
In addition, one program, Maricopa County Drug Court, demonstrated positive effects only for girls.
MTFC and MST have been identified as “model” programs in the OJJDP Blueprints Project.
Mr. Jacob C. Day
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
North Carolina State University
1911 Building No. 337
Raleigh, NC 27695
Ms. Margaret Zahn
Director, Girls Study Group
Crime, Justice Policy, and Behavior Program
Post Ofiice Box 12194
3040 Cornwallis Road
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194
Phone: (919) 541-6512
Lipsey, M. W. (1999). “Can Rehabilitative Programs Reduce the Recidivism of Juvenile Offenders? An Inquiry Into the Effectiveness of Practical Programs.” Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law, 6:611–641.
Lipsey, M. W., and Wilson, D. B. (1998). “Effective Interventions With Serious Juvenile Offenders: A Synthesis of Research.” In R. Loeber and D. P. Farrington (eds.), Serious and Violent Juvenile Offenders: Risk Factors and Successful Interventions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, pp. 313–345.
Zahn, M. A.; Day, J. C.; Mihalic, S. F.; and Tichavsky, L. (2009). “Determining What Works for Girls in the Juvenile Justice System: A Summary of Evaluation Evidence.” Crime and Delinquency, 55(2):266–293.