Community-based programs can change the trajectories of young people. These programs range from probation to intensive supervision, home confinement, alternative education, family preservation, restitution, community service, and day and evening reporting centers with educational, recreational and counseling opportunities. They can stand alone or be housed in existing community-based organizations serving a broad range of youth.
Three evidence-based programs are scientifically proven to prevent crime, even among youth with the highest risk of re-offending. Functional Family Therapy, Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care and Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) all focus on the family. None involve incarceration. All deliver results. Evaluations of MST for serious juvenile offenders demonstrate reductions of 25 to 70 percent in long-term rates of re-arrest, reductions of 47 to 64 percent in out-of-home placements, improvements in family functioning and decreased mental health problems, all at a lower cost than other juvenile justice services.
Principles of Reform
- Reduce Institutionalization
- Maximize Youth, Family and Community Participation
- Improve Aftercare and Reentry
- Create Smaller Rehabilitative Institutions
- Recognize and Serve Youth with Specialized Needs
- Create a Range of Community-Based Programs
- Ensure Access to Quality Counsel
- Reduce Racial Disparity
- Keep Youth Out of Adult Prisons
Each National Juvenile Justice Network member embraces the nine principles of reform, and conducts state-based work on at least one principle. These principles and the associated text are from “A Blueprint for Juvenile Justice Reform,” developed by the Youth Transition Funders Group.