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Model Programs Guide Literature Review: Alternatives to Detention and Confinement

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2014
7 pages
After reviewing the literature on the adverse effects on juveniles of pre-disposition detention and post-disposition confinement, a literature review identifies model programs instituted as alternatives to juvenile detention and confinement, followed by a review of the literature on the outcomes of alternatives to detention and confinement.
The overall conclusion of this review is that serving juveniles in the community as an alternative to detention and confinement is less expensive and equally, if not more, effective in preventing reoffending. The trend in providing juveniles an alternative to detention and confinement is based on a body of research that shows the negative impact of the custodial housing of juveniles, which is likely to include overcrowding, interaction with habitual and serious juvenile offenders, little to no treatment services, and imposition of the stigma of incarceration. On the other hand, research has shown that juveniles who are kept in the community reoffend less often than previously detained youths. Examples of model programs that are alternatives to detention or confinement are presented for the following program types: home confinement (house arrest); day (or evening) treatment centers; non-secure residential care; intensive supervision programs; and specialized foster care. Evaluation outcomes are presented for some of these examples. The various types of alternative programs have yielded mixed outcomes; however, this review concludes that alternatives to detention programs may increase public safety and are generally more cost-effective than incarceration. 22 references

Date Published: August 1, 2014