A Prospective Longitudinal Study of Teen Court's Impact on Offending Youths' Behavior

Rasmussen, A.,
Diener, C. I.
Journal Article
Year Published: 2005
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Juvenile and Family Court Journal, Volume 56(1):17-32, Winter 2005
National Institute of Mental Health

Although teen court is the fastest growing alternative processing model in juvenile justice, there has been little systematic investigation of offenders' impressions of the process and no attempt to measure changes in delinquent behavior, report the authors of this article. As a result, they employed a prospective longitudinal design to measure several impressions of teen court using a questionnaire, and change sin self-reported delinquency using the YSR and CBCL. Impressions of teen court did not predict compliance with the teen court sentence or lower risk of recidivism once demographic and prior delinquency were taken into account, although delinquent behavior did decrease between intake and six months for boys, who reported more delinquent behavior at intake. Interpretation of these results involves teen court's location at the soft end of juvenile justice, say the authors. Central to the discussion are implications for net-widening and changing not-so-delinquent youths' behavior. Modified Author Abstract.

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