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Effective Alternatives to Juvenile Detention


Juvenile detention has been a topic of extensive research and people have acknowledged that existing system is inefficient. Juvenile detention is a costly program that often results in recidivism.

Concept Theory Used

It is possible to employ a behavioural theory to understand why the system does not work and what alternatives exist.

Research questions

  1. Why is juvenile detention ineffective?
  2. Which efficient alternatives can be found?

Literature Review

Abrams (2013) focuses on the ongoing reform in juvenile justice. The researcher analyses literature available on juvenile system and its downsides. Abrams (2013) employs a qualitative research method. The author also utilises behavioural approach. The researcher stresses the importance of science and psychology in the process. The author concludes that social workers have to play an important role in the juvenile system reform. The article is valuable for policymakers as it identifies the weaknesses of the system and highlights possible alternatives to juvenile detention.

Alarid, Sims and Ruiz (2011, p. 14) analyse another alternative program. The purpose of this study is to examine key personnel’s perceptions in the “delivery of school-based probation supervision”. More than 150 juvenile probation officers were interviewed. The researchers utilised qualitative (with certain elements of quantitative) research method. The major findings of the research are importance of home visits and favourable influence of the community. This research provides valuable insights into effectiveness of probation and it can be used to develop an efficient alternative to juvenile detention.

Fishman (2011/12) states that reduction of juvenile detention will positively affect the society. The study is based on analysis of the experiment on Staten Island. The researcher utilises qualitative research method and literature analysis is provided. Fishman (2011/12) provides a detailed analysis of the program READY Respite. The researcher concludes that the program has proved to be effective in a number of ways (reduction of costs on detainment, reduction of recidivism, community involvement). The article is important for developers of alternatives to juvenile detention as successful experience of the program can be employed.

Harris, Lockwood, Mengers and Stoodley (2011) concentrate on assessment of recidivism in juvenile corrections. The researchers note that there are no adequate standards to measure this as well as effectiveness of detention. The researchers use both qualitative as well as quantitative research methods. The study is based on literature review and analysis of existing measures used by the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators. The researchers provide the developed standards for measuring recidivism and note that certain limitations exist and the standards can be adjusted to specific areas. This study is valuable as it provide particular tools to measure effectiveness of the juvenile detention system and all stakeholders (youth detained, community, government and so on) will benefit.

Muscar (2008) concentrates on another option and notes that juvenile boot camps are ineffective. The researcher argues that juvenile boot camps have to be abandoned. Muscar (2008) exploits a qualitative research method (analysis of literature existing on the matter is provided). The researcher also provides certain ideas on possible use of the concept of these camps. The research is valuable as it contains analysis of advantages and shortcomings of an alternative to the juvenile detention.

Quinn, Rutherford, Leone, Osher and Poirier (2005) focus on incarcerated juveniles with disabilities. The aim of this research was to identify the number (and percentage) of youth with disabilities in the juvenile justice system. The quantitative research method was used. Fifty-one heads of state departments of juvenile correction system completed surveys. It was found that the average percentage of youth with disabilities was 38%.

Notably, in some states the percentage of such youth reached 50%. Certain conditions of youth were variables used in the research. The study is valuable as it provides information on the number of detained youth with disabilities that require special treatment.

Teske (2011) focuses on zero tolerance policies in school that are closely connected with juvenile detention. The research question is whether multi-integrated systems are more effective than zero tolerance policies. The research is based on the qualitative research method. The researcher employed a case study method. It is found that the multi-integrated systems reduce suspensions, increase graduation rates and decrease the rate of delinquent felony. This article is a valuable source for policymakers as it identifies particular tools that can be used to develop an effective alternative to juvenile detention.

Zamora (2005) checks her hypothesis that academic performance and delinquency are interrelated. The researcher utilizes behavioural approach. Zamora (2005) employs a quantitative research method. 327 male delinquents of different race aged from 10 to 17 take part in the research. The study’s variables involve grade levels and performance in mathematics and reading (based on KTEA). The data obtained from the test were analysed. Zamora (2005) reports that poor performance contributes to “the initiation of delinquent behaviour” rather than continuation. Though the research has a number of limitations (some tests were not statistically significant), it is valuable for policymakers and those working on juvenile crime prevention and alternatives to juvenile detention.

Reference List

Abrams, L.S. (2013). Juvenile justice at a crossroads: Science, evidence, and twenty-first century reform. Social Service Review, 87(4), 725-752.

Alarid, L.F., Sims, B.A., & Ruiz, J. (2011). School-based juvenile probation and police partnerships for truancy reduction. Journal of Knowledge and Best Practices in Juvenile Justice and Psychology, 5(1), 13-20.

Fishman, N.L. (2011/12). Reducing juvenile detention: Notes from an experiment on Staten Island. New York Law School Law Review, 56(1), 1475-1500.

Harris, P.W., Lockwood, B., Mengers, L., Stoodley, B.H. (2011). Measuring recidivism in juvenile corrections. OJJDP Journal of Juvenile Justice, 1(1), 1-12.

Muscar, J.E. (2008). Advocating the end of juvenile boot camps: Why the military model does not belong in the juvenile justice system. UC Davis Journal of Juvenile Law & Policy, 12(1), 1-50.

Quinn, M.M., Rutherford, R.B., Leone, P.E., Osher, D.M., & Poirier, J.M. (2005). Youth with disabilities in juvenile corrections: A national survey. Exceptional Children, 71(3), 339-345.

Teske, S.C. (2011). A study of zero tolerance policies in schools: A multi-integrated systems approach to improve outcomes for adolescents. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 24(1), 88-97.

Zamora, D. (2005). Levels of academic achievement and further delinquency among detained youth. The Southwest Journal of Criminal Justice, 2(1), 42-53.

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"Effective Alternatives to Juvenile Detention." OctoStudy, 23 Mar. 2022, octostudy.com/effective-alternatives-to-juvenile-detention/.

1. OctoStudy. "Effective Alternatives to Juvenile Detention." March 23, 2022. https://octostudy.com/effective-alternatives-to-juvenile-detention/.


OctoStudy. "Effective Alternatives to Juvenile Detention." March 23, 2022. https://octostudy.com/effective-alternatives-to-juvenile-detention/.


OctoStudy. 2022. "Effective Alternatives to Juvenile Detention." March 23, 2022. https://octostudy.com/effective-alternatives-to-juvenile-detention/.


OctoStudy. (2022) 'Effective Alternatives to Juvenile Detention'. 23 March.

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