2021 Issue


Attitudes toward Rehabilitation and Punishment Orientations among Juvenile Detention and Probation Officers

Kristin Y. Mack, Ph.D., Gayle Rhineberger-Dunn, Ph.D
DOI:  10.52935/21.131311.01

The purpose of this paper was to explore the individual factors, job perceptions, and organizational characteristics that predict rehabilitation and punishment orientations among juvenile detention and probation staff members. Our results indicated juvenile officers who reported more education, less job ambiguity, and more adequate safety training were more likely to indicate preference for a rehabilitation orientation.  However, those who reported less education, worked in detention rather than probation, and had higher job ambiguity were more likely to hold a punishment orientation. Finally, individual characteristics had a greater impact on both rehabilitation and punishment than either job perceptions or organizational factors. These results provide useful information for agencies about staff perceptions, which may in turn impact their interactions with and decision-making related to juvenile offenders under their supervision.

Keywords: juvenile detention officers, juvenile probation officers, community corrections, punishment orientation, rehabilitation orientation, professional orientatioDownload

The Effect of a Character Education Program on Moral Development and Self-Esteem of At-Risk Youth

David A. Scott
DOI:  10.52935/21.193152020.01

The purpose of this study was to examine the results of a psychological and educational intervention with at-risk youth that could benefit from a character education program. All sessions and material used focused on improving moral development and possibly self-esteem in each child. In summary, the findings did not support the use of the present character education intervention with the targeted population sample. The study did provide encouragement to continue to design and investigate programs that could possibly benefit at-risk youth. Ancillary data was also discussed concerning the issue of a false sense of high self-esteem in at-risk youth. Implications for counselors are also discussed.

Keywords: Character education, at-risk youth, moral development, self-esteem  Download

Strategies for Enhancing Programming in Local Juvenile Courts: Logic Models and Quality Assurance Procedures 

David A. Julian, Keli Bussell, Ryan Kapa, Alexis Little, Scott Renshaw, Melissa Ross
DOI:  10.52935/21.10211291.01

The authors provide a case-study related to a recent project using program logic models as a primary component in the implementation of a formal quality assurance process in a local juvenile court.  Program logic models illustrate the evolution of court personnel’s thoughts about how best to conceptualize programming.  Juvenile court officials are developing and implementing formal “quality assurance” procedures to allow for ongoing planning and program development. The authors argue that quality assurance procedures hold great promise for assuring that juvenile court programming is efficient and effective and serves the needs of local communities. Download

Educational Experiences: Voices of Incarcerated Male Youth & School-to-Prison Pipeline

Everett B. Singleton, Ph.D.
DOI: 10.52935/21.19914712.05 

Youth who experience academic failure are at a greater risk for involvement in delinquency. While studies have revealed a myriad of factors for such failure, the perceptions of these youth regarding their educational experiences have proven to be one of the most valuable resources regarding the systematic barriers to academic achievement. The purpose of this study was to understand how incarcerated male youth perceive their educational experiences. Results indicated that some incarcerated youth make meaning of their educational experiences through a series of complex events, changes and circumstances occurring in their school and personal lives. Some of these were positive, while others often exposed them to unhealthy environments, substance abuse and criminal elements. Although their experiences varied, it was clear that failure was an ongoing occurrence throughout their academic journey. Their stories were also rife with suspensions, expulsion, truancy, retention, academic failure, school violence, poverty and parental neglect; furthermore, youth revealed personal challenges that had a direct or indirect impact on their academic journey, including feeling of inferiority due to their academic shortcomings. 

Brain Injury in Justice Involved Youth: Findings and Implications for Juvenile Service Professionals

D. Nagelea, M. Vaccaro, M.J. Schmidt, & J. Myers
DOI: 10.52935/21.1417512.06 

It is well-established that the prevalence of brain injury among justice-involved populations is significantly greater than that of the general population. From 2014-2018, a demonstration project was conducted in two juvenile detention centers in southeastern PA. Its core strategy was to identify youth with history of brain injury; determine their neurocognitive barriers to successful re-entry; and create release plans including connections to appropriate resources. 489 youth participated. They were screened for brain injury utilizing the Ohio State University Traumatic Brain Injury Identification Method, and those who screened positive, were assessed utilizing standardized measures of memory and executive functioning. Results indicated that 49% had history of brain injury, with an average of 2.59 injuries per youth. 62% of injuries did not involve a loss of consciousness, and two-thirds never sought treatment for their injury. A history of repetitive blows to the head was also common, and often caused by violence. 147 youth were subsequently evaluated for cognitive impairment. 57% showed evidence of significant cognitive impairment, with the most common impairments being working memory, behavioral regulation, and delayed recall of novel information. Resources included referrals to brain injury school re-entry programs, vocational rehabilitation, and medical rehabilitation. 

Moving the Needle: Cultivating Systemic Change in Juvenile Services
Kellie Rhodes, Aisland Rhodes, Wayne Bear, Larry Brendtro
DOI: 10.52935/21.1881545.06 

Approximately 1.7 million delinquency cases are disposed in juvenile courts annually (Puzzanchera, Adams, & Sickmund, 2011). Of these youth, tens of thousands experience confinement in the US (Sawyer, 2019), while hundreds of thousands experience probation or are sentenced to community based programs (Harp, Muhlhausen, & Hockenberry, 2019). These youth are placed in the care of programs overseen by directors and clinicians. A survey of facility directors and clinicians from mem-ber agencies of the National Partnership for Juvenile Services (NPJS) Behavioral Health Clinical Ser-vices (BHCS) committee identified three primary concerns practitioners face in caring for these youth; 1) low resources to recruit and retain quality staff, 2) training that is often not a match for, and does not equip staff to effectively manage the complex needs of acute youth, and 3) the perspective of direct care as an unskilled entry-level position with limited impact on youth’s rehabilitation. This arti-cle seeks to address these issues and seeks to highlight potential best practices to resolve for those obstacles within juvenile services. 

Implementing a Sexual Risk Avoidance Intervention in a Juvenile Justice Setting: What we Learned, and How it Can Help Others
Staci Wendt , Ashley Boal, Sarah Russo, and Jonathan Nakamoto
DOI: 10.52935/21.23514420.06 

Despite relatively high rates of teen pregnancy and sexual risk taking among justice-involved youth, there is a scarcity of programming to help these youth become better informed about sexual health and deci-sion making. The lack of adequate programming may in part be due to challenges that exist when trying to develop and implement programs in juvenile justice settings. Project With is a sexual risk avoidance intervention that includes storytelling and mentoring components and is currently being implemented within a large juvenile justice agency in California. This paper shares the lessons learned through imple-mentation of the Project With program at five juvenile justice facilities. These lessons focus on the rela-tionships, processes, and logistics that facilitated and impeded implementation, as well as aspects of the Project With design that promoted youth engagement. In particular, insights about the importance of leveraging relationships, gathering buy-in at multiple levels, understanding the system, and allowing for flexibility are highlighted. A checklist is included to support other program developers and researchers who seek to create, implement, and study teen pregnancy prevention programming for justice-involved youth. 

Keywords: teen pregnancy prevention, juvenile justice, justice-involved youth, program implementation