Assessment and Treatment of Young Offenders Lecture Notes
Chapter 12 Juvenile Offenders 1. Outline History Assessment of Young Offenders Theories of Antisocial Behavior Risk and Protective Factors Prevention and Treatment VideoHistory o Legal Act – Initially, all young offenders were treated exactly like adults 7 year olds could be tried as a 21 year old Over time, young offenders were distinguished from older offenders o 1908 – Juvenile Delinquents Act o 1984 – Young Offenders Act o 2003 – Youth Criminal Justice Act 1. Juvenile Delinquents Act (JDA) a. Youth between 7 and 16 (A minimum age was set) b. Separate court system i. Treated differently ii. More informal proceedings 1. A separate court system for youth was established, and it was suggestd that court proceedings be as informal as possible in that delinquents were seen as misguided children in need of guidance and support iii. Used different language (terminology) 1. Youth could not be charged with theft but delinquency 2. Called delinquents rather than offenders c. Sentencing options increased (i.e foster care, fines, and institutionalization) i. No real rules at this time; no set and stone d. Parents encouraged to participate e. In serious cases, the JDA made it possible for delinquents to be transferred to adult court. f. Punishments for delinquents were to be consistent with how a parent would discipline a child g. Problems? i. Given the informal proceedings, children were denied their rights, such as the right to counsel and the right to appeal, and judges could impose open-ended sentences ii. Not all service were available for youth (i.e rehabilitation programs for youth)
iii. No set and stone rules iv. Not punitive enough, because they have their own separate system v. Acts not legal for adults but legal for youth 1. i.e even if a youth is deemed innocent they are still required to go to habilitation program.2. Young Offenders Act (YOA) a. Accountability for actions (however not to the full extent that adults are) i. Tried to make sentencing match the crime better, but did not do a very good job b. Protection of the public c. Legal rights i. Children have rights to appeal and counsel d. Minimum age for criminal offence is 12 i. Children younger than 12 would be dealt with through child and family services e. Problems? i. Serious violent offence were short sentencing 1. i.e a crime that could give life sentencing were only 3 years ii. not punitive enough iii. disagreement over raising the minimum age of responsibility from age 7 to 12 iv. discrepencies in the factors leading to ransfer to adult court that suggested an arbitrariness in how cases were handled3. Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) a. Less serious crime out of the court b. Extrajudicialmeasures increase i. anything other than court as a form of punishment ii. term applied to measures taken to keep young offenders out of court and out of custody (i.e giving a warning or making a referral for treatment) iii. Q: we want to make the punishment stronger for youth, yet we try to find more alternatives for them. Aren’t these goals opposites of eachother? c. Prevention and reintegration i. Only under special circumstances, are the offender made public d. No transfers* i. Youth court can include adult punishments e. Victims’ needs recognized i. Could be notified if offender is released ii. Victim is more informed4. Objectives a. Prevention youth crime i. Prevent crime in general b. By giving more meaningful consequences and encourages responsibly of behavior i. Children and youth could be held for more than 3 years if necessary c. To improve rehabilitation and reintegration of youth into the community
Youth Crime Rates oAll criminal code violations (excluding traffic) Y axis: all causes that have been reported for youth Rates are going down for both violent and non-violent crimes But traffic and federal violation have been increasing Federal Trafficking of drugs Traffic Impaired driving and traffic violations 1. Youth Crime Rates and the YCJA a. Has the YCJA been effective? i. YesAssessment of Young Offenders (those under 12) Issue of consent Consent Assent : not necessary by law but consent is 1. Behavioral Problems a. Two categories i. Internalizing problems 1. Emotional problem (i.e anxiety, depression, obsessions) 2. Easier to treat than externalizing problems 3. More typically displayed by females ii. Externalizing 1. Behavioral problems (i.e fighting, bullying, lying) 2. More difficult to treat and persistent than internalizing 3. Symptoms peaks in teens 4. More common in males 5. Multiple informants 2. Common Diagnoses in Young Offenders a. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) b. Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) c. Conduct Disorder (CD) 3. ADHD a. Inattention features i. Lack of attention to detail, failure to listen, loses items, forgetful b. Hyperactivity features i. Fidgets, leaves seat, talks excessively
c. Impulsivity features i. Difficulty waiting, interrupts, blurts out responses d. Inattention features is more like internalizing symptoms while hyperactivity and impulsivity are more externalizing. e. http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=hC0idyBnMaM 4. ODD a. Loses temper b. Argues with adults c. Deliberately annoys others d. Angry and resentful e. Vindictive 5. Rates of Behavior Disorders a. 5-15% have severe behavior problems b. 2-50% have both ADHD and ODD or CD c. Children with ODD, 40% will develop CD d. Children with CD, 50% develop AP(antisocial personality disorder) as adults 6. CD a. Lots of people being diagnosed with this b. Has to persist for atleast 12 months* c. 4 main categories i. Aggression (cruelty to animals, forced sexual acts) ii. Property damage 1. Arson, breaking into homes iii. Deceit and theft 1. Cons, breaking into homes iv. Serious violations 1. Breaking rules set by parents or laws d. ODD-> CD -> AP 7. AP a. Consistently irresponsible (not showing up to court) b. Not likely to be label as a psychopath c. Psychopaths are intelligent whereas AP tends to act on impulse d. If you saw a crime scene, a psychopath less likely to be caughtTrajectories of Youth Offenders o Critical factor = Age of Onset o Child Onset Trajectory More serious and persistent * Many other difficulties ADHA, learning disabilities, academic trouble Most do not become offenders
o Adolescent onset trajectory Many commit social transgressions Most desist committing antisocial acts in adulthood More so than those with childhood onset 1. Brame, Nagin & Tremblay (2001) a. Followed boys from kindergarten to age 20 b. Measured levels of aggression c. Categorized boys as low, medium and high levels of aggression (based on initial measurement) d. Results: i. All levels decreased ii. All levels decreased to about the same level of aggression iii. Few of the high remains highTheories of antisocial behaviorBiological Theories 1. Biological – Neurological a. Frontal lobe i. Key role in planning and inhibiting behavior ii. Lower activation in frontal lobe iii. Increased likelihood of antisocial acts 2. Biological – Physiological a. Lower heart rate i. Antisocial shows level heart rate even when stress were present ii. If you have a slower heart rate as a child, you are more likely to become antisocial in the future 3. Biological - genetic a. Paternal antisocial behavior related to offspring antisocial behavior b. Twin studiesCognitive Theories o Attention in social interactions (2 problems) Attending to social cues Use cues/thoughts about cues to choose behavior o Process fewer cues (environment) o Misattribute hostile intent (thoughts) o Produce fewer more aggressive solutions (thoughts/behavior choices) o Cognitive deficits o Reactive and Proactive aggression Reactive: response to perceived threat
Cognitive deficiency in processing/attending to social cues Proactive: directed at achieving a goal Deficiency in generating alternative solutions o Reactive tend to have earlier onsetSocial Theories 1. Social a. Social Learning Theory i. Learn behavior from others ii. Imitate iii. Antisocial children have antisocial examplesRisk Factors 1. Individual Risk Factors a. Individual i. Genetic/biological (i.e., ADHD) ii. Uterine environment (i.e., fetal alcohol syndrome) iii. Temperament 2. Familial Risk Factors a. Familial i. Neglect ii. Family conflict iii. Parenting style (some parents can be very inconsistent and confuse the child) iv. Child Abuse 3. School and Social Risk Factors a. School and social i. Lower IQ ii. Aggressive play with peers iii. Deviant peersProtective Factors 1. Protective Factors a. Similar children have different outcomes 1. Resilience (not being affected in the face of the risk) 1. Characteristics of a child who has multiple risk factors but who does not develop problem behaviors or negative symptoms b. Protective factors… 1. Change the level of risk associated with a risk factor 2. Change the negative chain reaction 1. I.e if a mother was abused as a child, that will remind the parent not to abuse their child because they understand how it feels like.
3. Help develop and maintain self-esteem 1. Children with higher self-esteem less likely to engage with deviant peer 4. Provide opportunities 2. Can be divided into three kinds: Individual, familial, and social/external factors a. Individual Protective factors 1. Individual Resilient temperaments include exceptional social skills, child competencies, confident perceptions, values, attitudes, and beliefs within the child b. Familial 1. Positive and supportive environment 2. Good parent-child relationship c. School and Social Protective Factors 1. School and Social 1. Associating with prosocial childrenPrevention and Treatment 1. Prevention and Treatment a. Primary 1. Prior to violence 2. Decrease likelihood of future violence 3. i.e family oriented, school oriented, community wide b. Secondary 1. Directed at young offenders 2. Reduce frequency of violence 3. i.e diversion programs c. Tertiary 1. For youth who have gone through formal court proceedings 2. Prevent violence from reoccurring 3. i.e, in patient treatment 2. Primary Intevention Strategies a. Family Oriented Strategies 1. Parent-Focused Interventions: interventions directed at assisting parents to recognize warning signs for later youth violence and/or training parents to effectively manage any behavioral problems that arise. 2. Faimily-suportive interventions: interventions that connect at-risk families to various support services b. School Oriented Strategies c. Community-wide strategies 3. Secondary Intevention Strategies 4. Tertiary Intervention Strategies