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Serious and Violent Juvenile Offenders: Risk Factors and Successful Interventions Videoconference

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 1998
Publication Series
Panel presentations and phone-in questions are the format of the video conference portrayed in this video; the videoconference features the findings of a study group of 22 researchers commissioned by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to examine issues pertinent to the prevalence, causes, prevention, and intervention related to serious and violent juvenile offenders.
The presentation is divided into three sessions, with each followed by questions to and answers given by the panel, most of whom were participants in the research group. Regarding risk factors, the panel reports on research findings reviewed by the study group. The group found that serious and violent offending develops over a period of time, but with warning signs emerging at an early age. The factors that influence a juvenile's violent behavior are many and varied and are found in the dimensions of family, community, school, and peer group. Economically and socially deprived communities, dysfunctional and violent families, school maladjustment, mental health problems, substance abuse, and gang membership are all factors that cluster to foster serious and violent juvenile behavior. The panel emphasizes the importance of community-based, comprehensive, multidisciplinary intervention programs that are designed to counter and remedy identified risk factors. The second session addresses the practical applications of research findings in prevention and intervention efforts. Recommended intervention programs involve interpersonal skills training, behavioral contracting, and individual counseling. Research shows that when considering treatment and sanctions for serious and violent juveniles, the severity of the crime, the risk of recidivism for serious offenses, and the individual needs of the juvenile must be considered. The third session profiles specific community-based programs that research has shown to be effective in achieving their goals. The programs described include a family intervention home-based program; a program to reduce gang violence; and the Gateway Offenders Program, which is designed to reduce recidivism and improve social functioning among adolescents with a history of relatively modest, usually nonviolent, criminal offenses. A participant information packet is provided.

Date Published: September 1, 1998