Treatment for offenders, Youth Justice

A blueprint for rehabilitation-focused juvenile justice centres

This is an interesting article given the recent controversies pertaining to the operation of juvenile justice centres (YJ Centres) in Victoria and the Northern Territory (NT).

The aim of the study is:

[T]o identify the successful components of interventions in juvenile justice facilities that house delinquent youths. Because these youths present myriad problems ranging from abuse and poor care environment to criminality, we discuss care components and recommendations that came from both residential care and juvenile justice settings.

Put more succinctly, this study aims to determine “what kind of environment is effective for reducing recidivism” i.e. a blueprint for YJ centres.

The article is too long and complex to summarise in one blog post. However, it identifies seven key components for successful interventions and then provides a summary of the latest research for that component. The components are:

  • Rehabilitative models in juvenile justice facilities (comparing the Risk-Need- Responsivity model to the Good Life Model)
  • Effective components of daily interventions in juvenile justice facilities
  • Content of interventions
    • treatment method
    • treatment framework: building on youths’ strengths
  • Social climate
    • relationships with workers/staff: being an authentic caregiver
    • relationships with peers: developing positive peer interactions and mixing youths through activities
    • rules and practices: creating consistent routines
  • Motivation to engage in treatment
  • Increasing youths’ locus of control
  • How to implement these components
    • support for implementation


My suggestion is if Practitioners are in interested in finding out about the latest research on any of the above components, then it would be worth obtaining a copy of the article.

(If you do not have access to this journal, please email me at and I will forward you a copy.)


Take-outs for Practitioners and policy makers

  • Provides Practitioners with an overview of the key issues and latest research on the the operating requirements of a ‘rehabilitation focused’  YJ centre
  • Provides policy makers with some of advice on implementing rehabilitation programs in YJ centres



Mathys, C. (2017). “Effective components of interventions in juvenile justice facilities: How to take care of delinquent youths?” Children and Youth Services Review 73: 319-327.




About graemembaird

I am a psychologist with a special interest in improving the outcomes of families, children and young people in the Out of Home Care and Juvenile Justice systems.
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