Direct Services - Alternatives to Secure Detention
Secure corrections refer to youth who have been adjudicated delinquent and are committed to the custody of correctional facilities for periods generally ranging from a few months to several years and are more likely to provide an array of treatment interventions designed to effect behavioral change (Austin, Johnson, Weitzer, 2005). Research on traditional large training schools (i.e., correctional units housing as many as 100 to 500 youth), where a large majority of confined youth are still held in the United States, has found that 50–70 percent of previously confined youth are rearrested within 1 or 2 years after release (Wiebush et al., 2005; Krisberg, 1997; Winner et al., 1997; Fagan, 1996).
Conversely , alternatives to secure corrections are special programming approaches designed to prevent malapropos youth from being placed in secure confinement for any significant length of time. The concept of secure corrections alternatives is based on the premise that time spent in secure confinement may do more harm than good for these youth. Moreover. these alternatives give such youth the benefit of remaining in their communities with greater access to needed resources (i.e., necessary treatment, educational, vocational, and medical services) without endangering the community and at much less expense then secure confinement (OJJDP, 2001:37). In addition, the many problems associated with reentry are avoided because the youth is never entirely estranged from the community for a lengthy period of time. Finally, this approach keeps less serious or nonviolent offenders at home or in their home communities, thus increasing the availability of secure beds for the most serious and violent offenders (OJJDP, 2001:37).
There are several different types of secure confinement alternatives, many of which may be used either as a detention or correctional alternative. Below is a brief example of some alternative to secure corrections.
Home confinement or house arrest is a community-based program designed to restrict the activities of offenders in the community. Offenders live at home, go to work, run errands, attend school, and fulfill other responsibilities. However, they are closely monitored (electronically and/or through frequent contact with staff) to ensure that they comply with the conditions that the court has set. They are restricted to their residence for varying lengths of time and are required to maintain a strict daily schedule.
Day (or evening) treatment is a highly structured, nonresidential, community-based alternative that provides intensive supervision to ensure the community’s safety and a range of services for offenders to prevent future delinquent behavior. Offenders must report to the treatment facility on a daily basis at specified times (either during the day or in the evening) for a specified period (generally at least 5 days per week) but are allowed to return home at night. The program may provide special weekend activities. Services may include individual and group counseling, recreation, education, vocational training, employment counseling, life skills and cognitive skills training, substance abuse treatment, and referrals to community resources.
Shelter care is an alternative that offers residential care for youth who need short-term placement (i.e., for 1 to 30 days) outside the home. Shelter care is used for juveniles who require more intensive supervision than that provided by nonresidential options and for youth who must be detained because no parent or family member is available. Facilities are staff secure or nonsecure. Staff monitor youth 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and provide a full schedule of structured educational and recreational activities.
Specialized foster care is an adult-mediated treatment model that recruits and trains families to offer placement and treatment for youth with a history of chronic and severe delinquency. Usually, youth are closely supervised at home, in the community, and at school. Foster care parents provide one-on-one mentoring and consistent discipline for rule violations. Foster care parents typically receive special training on the needs of youth involved in the juvenile justice system and have access to additional resources to address special situations.
Intensive supervision programs (ISPs) are a community-based, nonresidential alternative that provides a high degree of control over offenders to ensure public safety, without the additional costs associated with confinement. ISPs have small caseloads, strict conditions of compliance, and high levels of contact and intervention by the probation officer or caseworker. ISPs typically use a variety of risk control strategies (e.g., multiple weekly face-to-face contacts, evening visits, urine testing, electronic monitoring) and deliver a wide range of services to address offenders’ needs. ISPs generally fall into two categories: those that serve probationers who have been assessed as high risk and those developed specifically as alternatives to institutionalization.
Early Intervention Programs
Alternatives to Secure Corrections
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