The Mis-synchronization of Juvenile Reform

cover_bjocRajah, Valli, Ronald Kramer and Hung-En Sung (2015). The Mis-synchronization of Juvenile Reform – Competing Constructions of Temporality and Risk Among Rehabilitation Programs and Young Offenders. British Journal of Criminology, 55(1), 184-202.

In the United States, juvenile rehabilitation programs have moved towards ‘risk-needs’ models, which not only assess risks of recidivism, but also address young peoples’ needs. While laudable for their responsiveness, we argue ‘risk-needs’ models are based on a series of beliefs concerning time and/or temporality that are inconsistent with the social locations and life experiences of young offenders. Based on observations and interview data collected from young male prisoners participating in a cognitive-treatment program, we argue that the temporal lessons that imprisoned youth learn, which are often inapplicable to their post-release lives, may limit the effectiveness of efforts to rehabilitate juvenile offenders. Study implications are discussed.