Day treatment facilities (or day reporting centers) are highly structured, community-based, postadjudication, nonresidential programs for serious juvenile offenders. The goal of day treatment is to provide both intensive supervision to ensure community safety and a wide range of services to the offender to prevent future delinquent behavior. The intensive supervision is fulfilled by requiring the offender to report to the facility on a daily basis at specified times for a specified length of time. Generally, programs are provided at the facility during the day and/or evening at least 5 days a week. Special weekend activities may also be conducted.
The services provided by day treatment programs include a plethora of correctional treatment methods similar to those used in halfway houses, but day treatment facilities allow program participants to return home at night and therefore do not have the costs associated with residential facilities. Treatment services in day treatment facilities may include individual and group counseling, recreation, education, vocational training, employment counseling, education, life skills and cognitive skills training, substance abuse treatment, and community resource referrals.
Day treatment facilities originated in Great Britain in the 1970’s and are currently being widely implemented in the United States. A 1990 study by the National Institute of Justice found only 13 facilities in the United States. By 1995 there were at least 114 in 22 States (Parent et al., 1995). A descriptive analysis reveals that these facilities are quite diverse with respect to the type of cases, administration, operation, caseload, and program content (Parent, 1990).
Despite the rapid spread of day treatment programs, to date there are no major impact evaluations examining the effectiveness of the day treatment programs. However, several exploratory studies (Williams and Turnage, 2001; Craddock and Graham, 1996; Howell, 1998) suggest that day treatment is an effective intervention.
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