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2014 Issue Brief: Programs that Promote Positive Development Can Help Young Offenders Grow Up and Out of Crime

Published Dec 8, 2014, Models for Change Resource Center Partnership

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Serious juvenile offenders, like other young people, have the potential for growth and change. Multiple studies have shown that maturity and reduced offending are closely intertwined. The question is, what constitutes “maturity” and how can we best support it?

Analyses of the Pathways study confirm that, while part of the equation involves natural changes in thinking, such as impulse control and considering the consequences of one’s actions, other factors also play important roles. It appears that programs that promote an examination of one’s thoughts and actions (such as cognitive behavioral therapy), combined with opportunities to practice and internalize that thinking (such as employment), can help young offenders mature and significantly reduce their offending.


Supported by

Models for Change was a juvenile justice systems reform initiative supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.