An Analysis of Juvenile Correctional Treatment

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The state of the evidence concerning correctional treatment prompts a vast array of differing opinions. One extreme position posits that “nothing works” while the other end of the continuum claims that some programs have very positive effects. The present study surveyed the professional literature appearing between 1975 and 1984 (inclusive) in order to evaluate the current state of knowledge on juvenile correctional treatment. The impact of treatment on recidivism was the primary consideration in a simple ballot-box analysis of reports published in professional journals. The results indicated that juvenile correctional treatment fared no better than in earlier reviews. In general, at least half of the studies reported negative or no impact on recidivism and many of the positive findings were based on dubious, subjective evaluations.