What do incarcerated youth want in their relationships with custodial workers?

Practitioners in youth justice facilities encourage their staff to develop positive relationships with the youth in their care with the aim of establishing a therapeutic alliance to address the causes of offending. This Dutch study investigates how workers might tailor their interactions with incarcerated youth to enhance such an alliance. The study The study involved 47 youths across two juvenile…

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Why do good staff become punitive so quickly?

  Practitioners will recognise the situation whereby they recruit someone who, during their interview, presents as a compassionate and caring individual, only to be caught off guard when the same person suddenly starts advocating harsher and harsher punishment for YP. This study This Israeli study explores how beliefs and attitudes of staff who work with the vulnerable predict the use…

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Not fake news: High risk adolescents want limits

Practitioners become concerned when their staff, typically new staff, become too close to the young people (YP) in their care. Staff themselves believe, correctly, that a close relationship is necessary to bring about changes in the YP’s life. However, the relationship can transform into a ‘peer-to-peer’ relationship, i.e. both parties are ‘equal’ in the relationship and thus the worker is…

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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…

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Absconding from placements increases risk of contact with correctional systems Practitioners have long known that young people who abscond from placement are at increased risk. Academics from the University of Michigan in the United States have completed an interesting study looking at the relationship between absconding and entry into the juvenile and adult correctional justice systems. The study compared a…

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Violent Offenders: Is too little treatment worse than no treatment at all?

Researchers have long known the efficacy of psychological treatment to reduce violent offending by adult and juvenile offenders. An interesting US study suggests that ‘too little’ treatment may be worse than no treatment at all. The researchers use an ingenious natural experiment design to investigate the efficacy of ‘strong dose’ vs ‘weak dose’ treatments. In this context, ‘dose’ refers to…

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