2018 Issue


Recidivism among First-Time Offending Truant Youth with Mental Health Symptoms 

Hannah Doucette, M.A., Northeastern University
Marina Tolou-Shams, Ph.D., The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University; University of California, San Francisco
Christie J. Rizzo, Ph.D., Northeastern University
Selby M. Conrad, Ph.D., The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University; Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center, Rhode Island Hospital
Pages 1-19

Little is known about which first-time offending truant youth re-offend, especially in comparison to youth with first-time delinquent offenses.  The purpose of this study was to compare rates and risk factors for recidivism between youth with first-time truancy offenses and delinquent offenses. All youth included in this study were referred for forensic mental health evaluation due to mental health concerns.  Findings revealed that rates of 12-month recidivism were comparable and both groups were more likely to commit a future delinquent offense than a truancy or status offense.  Risk for recidivism among truant youth was higher for those with an externalizing disorder and those who witnessed domestic violence.  Within truant recidivists, being male and having a history of substance use increased likelihood of future delinquency.  Study findings suggest that universal screening for truant youth upon court contact is justified and may be useful for selecting targeted recidivism prevention and intervention efforts.  This may be particularly important for truant youth with mental health concerns, as indicated by the sample used in this study.

Keywords: juvenile justice, predictors of recidivism, psychological disorders, reoffend, status offenses Download Article

Residential Staff Perspectives on Implementing Collaborative and Proactive Solutions in a Juvenile Justice Setting

Emily Lott, MSW, Doctoral Student, School of Social Work and Social Research, Portland State University
Pages 20-38

Studies in juvenile justice residential settings tend to focus on outcomes of various interventions, but there is a lack of research that gives attention to how these interventions are applied. This study seeks to fill the gap between intervention and implementation by exploring nine residential program staffs’ perspectives on implementing Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS) after previously using solely a point and level system. CPS is a cognitive, skills-based behavioral modification approach that has been advocated for use in place of point and level systems. Thematic analysis revealed that employees experienced personal and systemic challenges in implementing CPS, had to actively work to change the program organizational culture while embedded in the broader juvenile justice climate, and redefined the meaning of treatment in the residential program. The lessons learned from this study are valuable for those interested in using CPS in residential settings with juvenile justice populations and any individual or organization implementing a new intervention. Implications for future research are discussed, including a need for further research on implementation. Download Article

High School Assignment Completion: A Case Study of a Collaborative Intervention in Detention

Sarup R. Mathur, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Professor, Division of Educational Leadership, Arizona State University
Teasie Colla, B.A., Program Manager, Juvenile Justice Services Division, Arizona Supreme Court
Suman Pangasa, M.A., M. Phil, MEd, Education Program Manager, Yuma County Juvenile Justice Center
Gina M. Thompson, MEd, Superintendent, Yuma Union High School District 70
Rebecca I. Hartzell, Ph.D., University of Arizona
Pages 39-53

A collaborative intervention, the assignment completion program, was developed by a county detention facility and a school district to support the academic success of high school students who were detained in the facility. Communication protocols were developed for each student who entered this detention facility to enhance academic success. Results from the interviews of two education leaders about the intervention are shared in this case study. The findings indicate that inter-agency collaboration contributed to youth academic success. The drop-out rates for the participating school and recidivism rates for detainees went down. Implications include (a) developing strong collaboration between public schools and detention, (b) establishing protocols for targeted communication focused on student academic success, and (c) building a strong commitment to post-release success of detainees. Download Article