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Tough is not enough – Getting smart about youth crime: A review of research on what works to reduce offending by young people

Mclaren, Kaye L.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) Wellington, NZ: Ministry of Youth Affairs.

This literature review by Kay McLaren is intended to answer the question, “What works to reduce crime by young people?â€? In it the author summarizes extensive research on effective ways to stop young people from offending. The major sections of the paper are these. Part I covers patterns and trends of offending among young people: persisting offenders and desisting offenders, and serious and violent juvenile offenders. Part II deals with the best targets for interventions: various risk factors for juvenile offenders, especially related to family, school/work, peers, and community; and risks to address as a priority for “desistersâ€? and “persistersâ€?. Part III surveys processing of offenders: family group conferences; offender-victim mediation; diversion; drug courts; probation, parole, restitution, fines; and summaries of what is promising and what is not promising in processing young offenders. Part IV examines matters related to responding to offenders with effective services: the nature of “what worksâ€?; effective approaches in residential and non-residential approaches; the importance of family in interventions; school-based programs; mentoring programs; programs for violent and aggressive youth; characteristics of effective staff; what does not work in responding to juvenile offenders; and summaries of “what worksâ€? in different settings with various types of youth offenders.


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