We actually need young people who are bold, willing to challenge conventional thinking, and to break rules, but we also need them to respect others, to rely on logic rather than force, and to appreciate the corrosive effects of violence and exploitation. In short, our communities need powerful and creative young people who want to improve us and not simply to fight us. These should seem like obvious concepts to anyone working around the youth justice system, but it is often surprisingly difficult to implement them in practice.
Jeffrey A. Butts and Vincent Schiraldi Recidivism is not a robust measure of effectiveness for community corrections agencies. When used as the sole measure of effectiveness, recidivism misleads policymakers and the public, encourages inappropriate comparisons of dissimilar populations, and focuses policy on negative rather than positive outcomes. Policymakers who focus on recidivism as evidence of [...]
This report reviews a number of prominent frameworks that are available to help youth justice systems rely on positive outcomes rather than recidivism to measure their effectiveness. These include the Developmental Assets model, the 5Cs model, the Youth Program Quality Assessment model, the Positive Youth Justice model, and the Youth Thrive framework. Each model or framework aligns with the key principles of positive youth development as well as the large body of research on desistance from crime, which is also presented in this report.
The Chronicle of Social Change published a series of articles on applications of the Positive Youth Justice model. In the first summary article, John Kelly points out that the youth justice system tries to intervene in many areas of a young person's life. Substance abuse, serious mental health disorders, family problems and a history of [...]
Positive Youth Justice: Children First, Offenders Second This topical book moves beyond established critiques to outline a model of positive youth justice: Children First, Offenders Second (CFOS). Already in use in Wales, the proposed model promotes child-friendly, diversionary, inclusive, engaging, promotional practice and legitimate partnership between children and adults which can serve as a blueprint [...]
Shulman, Elizabeth P. and Elizabeth Cauffman (2013). Reward-Biased Risk Appraisal and Its Relation to Juvenile Versus Adult Crime. Law & Human Behavior, 37(6): 412-423. Journal site Patricia Zapf provides this helpful this helpful summary. The authors note that “the nature of adolescent risk perception may not only increase the chances of criminal behavior, it may [...]
According to the National Research Council, the "overarching goal of the juvenile justice system is to support the positive social development of youths who become involved in the system, and thereby assure the safety of communities. The specific aims of juvenile courts and affiliated agencies are to hold youths accountable for wrongdoing, prevent further offending, [...]
A synopsis of evidence indicates what does and does not work in juvenile justice and the inherent limitations of an approach based on “the medical model.” Recent progressive approaches in juvenile justice are more hospitable to positive youth development principles than are previous approaches.
The Youth Development Institute (YDI) supports the growth and development of young people by strengthening the quality and increasing the availability of experiences offered by the organizations that serve them. They partner with community organizations, schools, colleges, policy makers, funders, and others to create programs, train staff, and develop policies that encourage and enable young [...]
The insights and lessons of developmental science do not translate easily into the day-to-day tasks of youth justice systems, which often focus on control and compliance. Youth justice practitioners require assistance as they apply developmental principles. The Positive Youth Justice (PYJ) Model was developed to meet this challenge.
Butts, Jeffrey A., Gordon Bazemore, and Aundra Saa Meroe (2010). Positive Youth Justice: Framing Justice Interventions Using the Concepts of Positive Youth Development. Washington, DC: Coalition for Juvenile Justice. Positive youth development could be an effective framework for designing general interventions for young offenders. Such a framework would encourage youth justice systems to focus on protective [...]
Butts, Jeffrey A. (2008). YTFG Briefing Paper #3: A Sensible Model for Juvenile Justice. Chicago, IL: Youth Transition Funders Group. The juvenile justice system needs a new, sensible model for policy and practice, one that can be used to design and deliver interventions for the full range of delinquent offenders coming to the attention of [...]
Butts, Jeffrey A., Susan Mayer, and Gretchen Ruth (2005). Focusing Juvenile Justice on Positive Youth Development. Chicago, IL: Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago. Juvenile justice programs are largely focused on the traditional goals of law enforcement. This issue brief examines how juvenile justice agencies might draw from the growing body [...]
Catalano, Richard F., M. Lisa Berglund, Heather S. Lonczak, and J. David Hawkins (2004). Positive Youth Development in the United States: Research Findings on Evaluations of Positive Youth Development Programs. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 591(1): 98-124. This article summarizes a much lengthier one that appeared in Prevention [...]
Schwartz, Robert G. (2000). Juvenile Justice and Positive Youth Development. In Youth Development: Issues, Challenges and Directions (pp. 233-279). Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures. The American system of juvenile justice has existed for 100 years because of two beliefs that have remained relatively constant: (1) that youth are not as culpable for their conduct as adults; [...]