What we already know from years of research is effective interventions for young people in the juvenile-justice system must address risk factors across all aspects of the adolescent’s life. To succeed, the intervention has to take into account what puts the youth at risk for current and future anti-social behaviors, whether it has to do with the individual, family, peer, school or community. Not to be overlooked are such considerations as whether there are warm, supportive relationships with caring adults and positive peer associations, which help steer juveniles away from behaviors that put them at risk for criminal activity.
What seems to be less known are the effectiveness of interventions that target young people at the transitional stage from adolescence to early adulthood, a critical time that can prevent criminal activity from escalating. As we hear about adult-incarceration rates increasing, and the need for more prisons, it is imperative that we put the right information into the hands of our policymakers so they know that interventions developed and used to address juvenile delinquency can, in fact, make a difference in the adult-criminal systems.