Ministero della Giustizia   Dipartimento Giustizia Minorile                                                               ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     September 2010 – Milan, ITALYII
PrefaceThis report documents the results of a project carried out by the Minotauro,in cooperation with “Istituto Centrale ...
In order to answer such questions, the following activities were carried     out:        •   A review of the literature on...
The results of this project are presented in this report. A book detailingthe assessment of young offenders will be publis...
Content      Document Development Gruop                              VII      1. Introduction                             ...
Document development group                                    Alfio Maggiolini                                  Alessandra...
Istituto Centrale di Formazione                                               Cira Stefanelli                             ...
1. Introduction                                                                                      Italian Network for Y...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice        1 dicembre 2010 services    -    respond to specific question...
1. Introduction                                                                                          Italian Network f...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice      1 dicembre 2010 services    A systematic survey of young offend...
1. Introduction                                                                                       Italian Network for ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice      1 dicembre 2010 services    are the criminogenic needs that und...
1. Introduction                                                                                      Italian Network for Y...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice      1 dicembre 2010 services    Antisocial behaviours may be the re...
1. Introduction                                                                                     Italian Network for Yo...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     Criminogenic needs are at the cor...
2. The Juvenile Justice System in Italy                                                                                   ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     probation) and various alternativ...
2. The Juvenile Justice System in Italy                                                                                   ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     trial measures and the stay of pr...
2. The Juvenile Justice System in Italy                                                                                   ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     “The State Attorney and the judge...
2. The Juvenile Justice System in Italy                                                                                   ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     The personality assessment carrie...
3. Recent trends in criminal policies in Europe                                                                           ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     A new approach referred to as ‘Re...
3. Recent trends in criminal policies in Europe                                                                           ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     Such trends affect the methods em...
3. Recent trends in criminal policies in Europe                                                                           ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     In conclusion, the lack of guidel...
4. The assessment carried outwithin the Juvenile Justice Services in Italy                                                ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice           1 dicembre 2010 services         jeopardised. This relatio...
4. The assessment carried outwithin the Juvenile Justice Services in Italy                                                ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     person information on his family,...
4. The assessment carried outwithin the Juvenile Justice Services in Italy                                                ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     frequently mentioned, but when a ...
4. The assessment carried outwithin the Juvenile Justice Services in Italy                                                ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice     1 dicembre 2010 services32                          Prevention a...
5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services                                                             ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services        2. Support to the young person...
5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services                                                             ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     A study involving the psychologis...
5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services                                                             ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services                                      ...
5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services                                                             ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     criminal provision is also highly...
5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services                                                             ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     nuisance, as they steal time from...
5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services                                                             ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     diagnosis, the risk of re-offendi...
5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services                                                             ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     Theoretical frame     The psychol...
5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services                                                             ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services             Social background and fam...
5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services                                                             ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     social workers. The study also fo...
5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services                                                             ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     In IPM, psychologists tend to wor...
5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services                                                             ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     teamwork, the fragmented nature o...
5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services                                                             ...
The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice       1 dicembre 2010 services     The efficacy of the clinical work...
5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services                                                             ...
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English
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The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English

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This report documents the results of a project carried out by the Minotauro, in cooperation with “Istituto Centrale di Formazione” ICF (the national staff training office of the Juvenile Justice Department) and Lombardy Juvenile Justice Centre.

The primary objective of the project was to establish an exchange between psychologists, social workers and educators working within the Italian juvenile justice services, paving the way for an exchange at European level concerning the assessment of young offenders.

The project was focused in particular on the psychologists working within a
juvenile justice services, with the aim of assessing the objectives and
methods of their work.

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The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English

  1. 1. Ministero della Giustizia Dipartimento Giustizia Minorile Istituto Centrale Centro per la Giustizia Minorile di Formazione per la Lombardia - Milano del PersonaleThe Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders’ Assessment and Treatment INYOAT With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme. European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security GU L 58, 24.2.2007 I
  2. 2. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services September 2010 – Milan, ITALYII
  3. 3. PrefaceThis report documents the results of a project carried out by the Minotauro,in cooperation with “Istituto Centrale di Formazione” ICF (the national stafftraining office of the Juvenile Justice Department) and Lombardy JuvenileJustice Centre.The primary objective of the project was to establish an exchange betweenpsychologists, social workers and educators working within the Italianjuvenile justice services, paving the way for an exchange at European levelconcerning the assessment of young offenders.The project was focused in particular on the psychologists working within ajuvenile justice services, with the aim of assessing the objectives andmethods of their work.The project examined the following questions: • How does psycho-social assessment guide the court’s decisions? • What are the objectives of the psycho-social assessment (e.g. screening, diagnosis, liability to prosecution, social dangerousness, re-offending risk)? III
  4. 4. In order to answer such questions, the following activities were carried out: • A review of the literature on the psycho-social assessment carried out in other European justice settings; • Interviews with psychologists working in the Italian juvenile justice services; • National meetings between the managers of the Juvenile Justice Services or other representatives of the services involved; • Analysis of the reports provided by the juvenile justice services to the court. The reports contain information about the young person’s circumstances and aim to help the court to deliver a suitable criminal response; • The promote an exchange of practices and methods during meetings between the psychologists working within the Italian juvenile justice services; • An international conference on assessment attended by managers of the Juvenile Justice Services and representatives of the services involved; • The establishment of a mailing list for psychologists working within the Juvenile Justice Systems, through with they can exchanging information.IV
  5. 5. The results of this project are presented in this report. A book detailingthe assessment of young offenders will be published in Italy and iscurrently in press.The report is addressed to professionals working in the field and judgesdelive V
  6. 6. Content Document Development Gruop VII 1. Introduction 1 2. The Juvenile Justice System in Italy 11 3. Recent trends in criminal policies in Europe 19 4. The assessment carried out within the Juvenile Justice Services in Italy 25 5. The psychological work within the Juvenile Justice services 33 6. The assessment of antisocial behaviour within a developmental frame 65 7. Conclusions and perspectives 139 Bibliography 145VI
  7. 7. Document development group Alfio Maggiolini Alessandra Ciceri Cristina Colli Mauro Di Lorenzo Giovanna Kluzer Carlo Trionfi Cristina Saottini Veronica Scuffi Virginia SuigoMinotauro is a social cooperative of psychologists, researchers and trainers. Minotauro was founded in 1984. The president is Gustavo Pietropolli Charmet; its members are psychologists, psychotherapists, researchers and trainers, sharing their research and intervention experiences in institutional contexts and in clinical activity, in a common framework highlighting the importance of affective symbolisation processes, and the developmental dimension of psychological uneasiness. Theoretical approaches and experienced interventions are listed and presented in different publications (www.minotauro.it). VII
  8. 8. Istituto Centrale di Formazione Cira Stefanelli Maria Grazia Castorina Bruno Costa Elvira Narducci, Giuseppe Mandalari Antonella Zanfei The “Istituto Centrale di Formazione (ICF) (the national staff training office of the Juvenile Justice Department) plans, organizes, carries out and evaluates training activities involving the staff under the Ministry of Juvenile Justice The Juvenile Justice Centre of Lombardy Flavia Croce Juvenile justice centres are administrative decentralized agencies whose jurisdiction usually covers the territory of several regions and appellate courts districts. Their functions are: technical and financial planning, follow-up and supervision of juvenile justice services such as the offices of youth social service, juvenile classification homes, juvenile detention detention centres and residential communities.VIII
  9. 9. 1. Introduction Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment There has been a widespread pessimism about the treatment of young offenders. The criminal response was considered to be largely ineffective. Recently, the results of meta-analytic studies have shown that it is possible to reduce re-offending. It has also been found that many antisocial disorders can be treated and, contrary to all expectations, sufficiently intensive and long treatment may also change psychopathic traits of personality (McGuire, 1995; Salekin, 2010; Andrews, Bonta, 1998). Early intervention with young offenders may prevent the development of a criminal career. In order to deliver a programme effective in reducing the risk of re- offending it is essential to assess the young person, his environment and his deviant behaviour. A psychological assessment of young people involved in criminal proceedings may: - address a psychological issue and highlight a possible psychopathology, from a treatment-oriented perspective; - include the family and the environment, in order to assess the risk and protective factors - focus on the risk of re-offending; 1
  10. 10. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services - respond to specific questions delivered by the court, such as issues concerning maturity/immaturity and social dangerousness An assessments many focus on particular aspects depending on the offence, the characteristics of the youth, the criminal context, the stage of the trial and, the theoretical framework and the methods employed by the professionals carrying out the assessment. The most recent trends show that age and gender (male adolescence) are risk factors for rule-breaking behaviours. From a developmental viewpoint, they may represent a physiologic rule-breaking attitude. They may also underpin behavioural disorders, antisocial personality disorders or other psycho-pathologies. However, in some cases, they may also reveal a failure of the family, the environment and/or the school to understand the youths developmental needs. One developmental psychopathology approach (Cicchetti, Cohen, 1995; Achenbach, 2001; Rutter, 1988) attributes importance to the environment, and overcomes the idea that the adolescence “carries” a disorder. This approach finds that antisocial behaviours start as the result of a negative interaction between an individual’s developmental needs and the environmental’s responses, where the representations of the individual2 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  11. 11. 1. Introduction Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment concerning his needs and the responses from others to those needs, become of paramount importance. This developmental psychopathology approach found that antisocial behaviours may be the result of various developmental paths which are open, at any time, to different developmental paths. As one of the main objectives of the criminal response, is to reduce re- offending, it is necessary to understand which features of the young person and his environment lead to a favourable prognosis. It is also necessary to understand the relation between psychological objectives (e.g taking responsibility, changing their developmental path) and objectives more strictly related to a change in the antisocial behaviours. By conducting individual assessments the juvenile justice services may prevent the delivery of an unspecified provision to all young offenders. Some offences may be related to specific mental health disorders, but generally it is conduct disorder or antisocial personality disorder (DSM-IVR, 2000 that young offenders suffer from. However, within the juvenile justice services, a diagnosis of a conduct disorder or antisocial personality disorder, as specified by the DSM-IV R (a condition characterized by persistent disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood) does not seem sufficiently specific. 3
  12. 12. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services A systematic survey of young offenders’ mental health issues paves the way for an understanding of effective practice within the Italian juvenile justice services. The criminal response does not only pursue punishment and the preservation of social security, it also aims to promote a change in the young person, and is therefore seen as a form of treatment. In order to assess and address the young person and his environment, psychological, educational and/or social support workers perform various types of interventions within a detention setting or via diversion measures. The complexity of the work makes it difficult to evaluate its efficacy. The criterion usually employed is a reduction in the re-offending rates, which is necessary, but not sufficient, because adolescents may well cease criminal activities while still being antisocial or becoming asocial, e.g. with issues of substance abuse, social marginalization and so on. The insufficient attention paid to providing evidence-based practice may partly be due to the widespread pessimism about the outcome of both criminal provisions and the psychotherapy of antisocial disorders. However, even though antisocial behaviour still seems persistent, it is widely thought that it may change. Moreover, a change often occurs spontaneously: some4 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  13. 13. 1. Introduction Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment studies have shown that about half of even the most persistent offenders actually stop their antisocial behaviours, managing to gain a positive social identity, i.e. work and engage in a couple relationship. As the family and the social environment where such behaviours take place are often crucial to such change, experts question whether the involvement with the criminal justice system may end up being a risk rather than a protective factor. The criminal context, and detention in particular, may indeed have an iatrogenic effect (McGuire, 1995). A conceivable approach of the Juvenile Justice Services is to regard criminal response as a form of care. Such an approach may eventually evaluate its efficacy, in terms of both re-offending rates, and the adolescents’ development. In order to pursue such an approach a survey and an analysis of the data concerning young people involved in the criminal justice system is of paramount importance. To tailor an effective programme, it would also be essential to understanding the features of the young person to thereby avoid the provision responding to institutional demands, rather than the young person’s needs. Assessment between the mental health objectives and the demands from the juvenile justice service To guide the criminal response, the assessment of young offenders should include the risk of re-offending, and psychological and social issues, which 5
  14. 14. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services are the criminogenic needs that underpin the individual’s involvement in crime. Amongst young offenders, re-offending rates are usually high. Data is difficult to compare, due to the diversity of the samples in terms of age, severity, follow up and criteria employed to define re-offending (e.g. further charge, further arrest, further conviction). Generally speaking, it is estimated that up to two thirds of the non occasional young offenders re-offend within three years. “Chronic” delinquents (about 5% of all young offenders) show the following rates: at a 5 year follow up, 77% of the 15-20 age group, 50% of the 20-25 group and 35% of the 25-30 group re-offended, with a mean of 4.6 offences for those who committed more than one (Rutter, Giller, Hagell, 1998). The results of a study carried out in 15 US States found that more than 80% of the14-17 years old prisoners were re-arrested within three years of their release. (Langan, Levin, 2002). A study carried out in the UK, reported that 88% of the 14-16 years old prisoners re-offended within two years of their release. (Hagell, 2002). Another study found re-arresting rates to be: 49.2% at a one year follow up, 70.8% at a two years follow up, and 76.7% at a three years follow up (Mc Guire et al., 1995). Vermeiren, De6 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  15. 15. 1. Introduction Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment Clippele and Deboutte (2000) reported a 46.2% rate of recidivism at an 8 months follow up. In Italy, a study was carried out with a sample of 103 young male offenders (Italians, nomads and foreigners), with the use of a form assessing recidivism risk at intake within the Juvenile Justice Services. The results show that a little more than half of the sample (54.1%) was at high risk of re-offending; one out of four (25.1%) were at a medium risk, one out of five (20.8) at a low risk. At their two year follow up, 32% of the sample had been charged with another offence; none of the low and medium risk group re- offended while within the high risk group 44% of the sample re-offended and were reported to be mainly nomads or Italians showing severe mental health issues. (Maggiolini, Ciceri, Macchi, Marchesi, Pisa, 2009). This study shows that the assessment of re-offending risk to be accurate. The pre-trial measures ordered by the court at intake were broadly coherent with the level of risk. The follow up of the high risk group stresses the importance of providing treatment to nomads and Italians living in highly dysfunctional families or environments, and developing even more severe mental health issues. The study conclusively showed that recidivism risk is significantly related to risk factors within the cultural-family environment. Mental health disorders and criminogenic needs are also important to assess. 7
  16. 16. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services Antisocial behaviours may be the result of a conduct disorder or an antisocial personality disorder or some other severe psychopathology. Whatever is the case, they are also all the signs of an adjustment issue, in the relation between adolescence needs, age-related developmental tasks, family and environment. To better understand psychological issues in delinquency, various studies have been carried out in the past few years on the relationship between mental health issues and juvenile delinquency. These studies aim to understand underlying risk factors and precursors in childhood, distinguishing profiles of antisocial adolescents as well as the prevalence of psychological disorders amongst young people getting involved with the criminal justice system (Dazzi, Madeddu, 2009; Grisso, Schwartz, 2000; Loeber, Farrington, Stouthamer- Loeber, Van Kammen, 1998; Vreugdenihl, Doreleijers, Wermeiren, Wouters, Van Den Brink, 2004; Wasserman, McReynolds, Lucas, Fisher, Santos, 2002; Wasserman, Ko, McReynolds, 2004). A number of studies have confirmed that young people undergoing criminal proceedings, and prisoners in particular, have between three and five times8 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  17. 17. 1. Introduction Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment more risk of developing a mental disorder (Teplin, Abram, McClelland, Dulcan, Mericle, 2002; Wasserman, McReynolds, Lucas, Fisher, Santos, 2002; Vermerein, 2003; Boesky, 2002). Conduct disorder is the most frequent diagnosis amongst juvenile delinquents, followed by oppositional- defiant disorder (Moffit et al., 2003; Boesky, 2002). Substance abusers are also at a higher risk of offending (Moffit et al., 2000). In Italy in 2005, a sample of 66 young males (with a mean age mean of 16.3, 35% Italians, 65% foreigners or nomads) were interviewed at intake within the Juvenile Justice Services, using the Youth Self Report (Achenbach, 2001). The professionals involved were asked to complete the Teacher Report Form (Achenbach, 2001). The professionals reported internalized and externalized problems in 72%, while only 38% of the young people reported externalized problems and 29% internalized problems.. Crossing psycho pathological issues and a re-offending risk index showed that 91.2% of the adolescents at high risk of re-offending had clinically significant mental health issues. The study confirms that mental health disorders are widespread amongst the young people involved with the criminal justice service. The fact that psychopathology is mostly related to high re-offending risk emphasises that psychological work may be helpful in reducing recidivism. 9
  18. 18. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services Criminogenic needs are at the core of the assessment and discriminative of evidence-based practice (Dowden, 1999). The programmes, which are the most effective in reducing re-offending, are those which combine psychological support with vocational and social work (McGuire, 2004). A correct assessment at intake may guide the work within the juvenile justice services (Vermerein, 2003). The objective of the assessment is not the provision of a diagnosis of a psychopathology, but rather the involvement of the young person in a programme informed by an understanding of his personality and psychic functioning. The programme’s primarily aim is to help the adolescent resume his development and gain a new social identity. The psycho-social assessment also represents the first opportunity for the adolescent to see himself as someone having emotions, desires and intentions, and express his point of view on the offence and think about its subjective meaning.10 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  19. 19. 2. The Juvenile Justice System in Italy Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment The Juvenile Court The Juvenile Court was set up in 1934, under Royal Decree (n° 1404) and exercises its jurisdiction upon civil, criminal and administrative matters. The Juvenile Courts are tasked with proceedings related to juveniles between 14- 18 years of age, who have been accused of criminal offences. The 1934 Decree has been amended on a number of occasions, , most notably by a special law created in 1988, to the “rules about criminal proceedings against minors” (D.P.R. 448/88). The Decree followed the U.N. “Minimum rules on “social reactions to juvenile delinquency” and the so called “Bejing rules” (Recommendation 40/33 of the 29th of November 1985) which were a point of reference for the reform of a criminal process for juveniles which lead to a highly innovative model. The Juvenile Criminal Procedure Code enforces criminal provisions such as stay of proceedings while the juvenile is placed under supervision (similar to 11
  20. 20. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services probation) and various alternative non-custodial measures are taken. The aim is to prevent juveniles from entering the criminal justice system and to reduce the potential harm of the criminal proceedings on juveniles; detention is used as a last resort. Under the code, juveniles are placed under the care of social services, with the direct involvement of the youth, his family, his school, his peer group and his environment and indirectly though the work carried out with agencies in the community. In this frame, the discipline of the probation (“stay of proceedings and placement under supervision”) is of paramount importance. According to such an institution, the young offender’s proceedings are deterred until the outcome of a supervision period; if the supervision is successful and the youth is reintegrated to society, the offence is discarded. It can be ordered for any kind of crime, and it is not restricted to the first offence; it lasts up to three years. A probation programme is prescribed in the early stages of the proceedings. It may be suggested by the prosecutor, the defence counsel, the young person, his parents, or the social worker. Probation requires the young offender’s cooperation, it cannot be imposed on someone who is unwilling to undertake it. The law does not specify whether the defendant’s guilt is to be ascertained; however, it is a commonly thought that it represents an unexpressed pre-requisite for a probation order. The order12 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  21. 21. 2. The Juvenile Justice System in Italy Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment delivered by the court is based on the assessment of the young person and environmental issues and resources, provided by the Juvenile Justice Services or the local social services. Generally speaking, the ratio of the response to juvenile delinquency is to promote the young offender’s awareness of the meaning of the offence and encourage him to take responsibility for his behaviour. It tends to be programme-oriented, meaning that a rehabilitation aim is favoured, and the punishment of the young offender is of secondary importance. The Italian juvenile justice services 1. Offices of Youth Social Service (USSM thereof) 2. Juvenile Detention Centres (IPM thereof) 3. Juvenile Classification Homes (CPA thereof) 4. Residential facilities Offices for Youth Social Service (USSM) provide young offenders with assistance at every stage of the criminal proceeding, starting from the enforcement of pre-trial measures. The USSM plays a supporting and monitoring role during the enforcement of non custodial pre-trial and post- 13
  22. 22. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services trial measures and the stay of proceedings with placement under supervision. When requested, the USSM provides the court, with information concerning the assessment of young person and his family. Juvenile Classification Homes (CPA) admit juveniles under provisional arrest and grant them residence for up to 96 hours until the validation hearing, without being actual prison facilities. The CPA teams make a first psycho-social assessment on the juvenile’s situation and the local resources available, with the aim of providing the judicial authority with information that is helpful in identifying the most suitable measure for the young offender. Juvenile Detention Centres (IPM) secure the enforcement of orders (such as pre-trial detention and conviction sentences) made against juvenile offenders under 18 years of age (or up to 21 years of age, provided that the offence was committed when under 18) by judicial authorities. In this context, the young offender is granted the right not to interrupt his educational, physical and psychological development. IPMs provide young offenders with school, vocational training, cultural, sport, recreational and theatre activities. The IPMs operate according to the principle of the Italian law, D.P.R. 448/88, which specifies the minimum intervention by criminal14 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  23. 23. 2. The Juvenile Justice System in Italy Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment justice and the principle of reducing imprisonment, lead to a decrease in the number of detainees. Residential facilities act by law both to secure the enforcement of non- custodial measures and help integrate young offenders in their social environment. In Italy, only a few residential communities are directly managed by the juvenile justice service; most of them are private and have an agreement with the Ministry of Justice. Placements in socio-educational residential communities, either in terms of serving a pre-trial measures or carrying out a probation measure, are common within the juvenile justice provisions. Personality assessment When delivering an order, the young person’s personality is always taken into account by the court,; In accordance with the principles of the Italian law D.P.R. n.448/1988, every Italian court’s must take into account the young person’s needs, circumstances and resources. Consequently, personality assessments take place at various stages of the criminal proceedings. Quoting art. 9 of the D.P.R. n.448/1988: 15
  24. 24. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services “The State Attorney and the judge shall gather information about the child’s situation and personal, familiar, social and environmental resources, in view of establishing his criminal responsibility and degree of liability as well as considering the social relevance of the offence and ordering adequate penalties and possibly taking the appropriate civil measures”. It should be emphasised that, differently from other countries, in Italy the personality assessment is not aimed at identifying competence to stand trial but instead focuses on the process itself to shape and become accessible to a developing and changing young person. Taking responsibility According to Italian law, the criminal procedure for juvenile offenders, (D.P.R.. 448/1988) does not consider the young offender as either someone to be punished or someone to be protected, but as an interlocutor, someone who can hold a dialogue with the adult magistrate and take decisions regarding his own future within the criminal justice system.16 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  25. 25. 2. The Juvenile Justice System in Italy Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment In addition to safeguarding the educational needs of the young offender, the criminal juvenile process strives to help young offenders to to take responsibility for their actions. Assessing the truth of an event or punishing the young offender is of secondary importance. The primary goal is to rehabilitate the young person by promoting his capacity to engage and repair the damage he has done. The trial provides educational value through both safeguard the young persons educational needs and in the fact that the trial itself may deliver a developmental-oriented function. The various professionals involved with the young person during the criminal proceedings (e.g. psychologist, educator, social worker, judge, lawyer) perform such a function. The juvenile criminal process must not interrupt the developmental process by disrupting vocational training or school but it may actually also be the chance for educational relationships to start, : such an aim is pursued both within the process, as it involves the youth’s parents, whenever possible, and outside, in the liaison with the community. The juvenile criminal process adapts itself to the youth’s personality, circumstances, developmental needs and degree of maturity. 17
  26. 26. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services The personality assessment carried out by social workers, psychologists and educators is thus not aimed at providing a diagnosis, or assessing the competence to stand trial, but rather at adapting the process to the young person’s needs, capacities, degree of development and maturity.18 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  27. 27. 3. Recent trends in criminal policies in Europe Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment In recent years the policies of the Juvenile Justice Service have shown different trends within the countries of the European Union. On the one hand, the repression of criminally relevant behaviours has increased, while a remarkable opening to “restorative justice” has also emerged; on the other, some offences, previously under the competence of the juvenile criminal justice have been transferred to the competence of administrative justice (Padovani, Ciappi, 2010). In some countries of the European Union the criminal justice has become harsher, with a parallel debate about the lowering of the age for criminal liability to prosecution; this trend may be due in the first place to the failure of the rehabilitation model in Anglo-Saxon countries, and the prevalence of emerging social defence issues and the need for social control. In the past, instead of focusing on the young offender’s rehabilitation pessimism about the welfare rehabilitation-oriented model lead to a focus on the offence and the victim, with primary aim of social security. 19
  28. 28. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services A new approach referred to as ‘Restorative justice’ as provided an alternative to the traditional model of criminal response . Within this new model, the restorative feature of criminal justice is paramount, i.e. the focus is on the resolution of the conflict created by the offence, and the repair of the consequent damage rather than behaviour-controls,retribution or the pursuit of the punishment of the youth. Unlike the traditional model of criminal response where the victim was excluded, the restorative model frequently involves the victim through a process of mediation (such as the Victim-Offender Mediation programme). Regarding the increased importance of administrative justice in countries such as Great Britain, Holland, Belgium and Germany, the most recent criminal policies address administrative measures (such as diversion, restorative justice, youth panel conferencing), with the involvement of local authorities, while the criminal justice withdraws and its role becomes the formal control of provisions managed by administrative bodies. As an example, in Great Britain, the criminal provision is diversified, with the aim of avoiding as far as possible the involvement of the young person with the juvenile justice system.20 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  29. 29. 3. Recent trends in criminal policies in Europe Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment Within this “diversion” frame the Great British police force has a number of options as alternatives to prosecution,. Similarly, in Germany an exception to the “legality principle” is given through the discretionary power granted to the prosecutor to request, in alternative to prosecution, the dismissal of the case with the simultaneous provision of educative measures. The aim is to avoid an inappropriate involvement of the young person in the criminal justice system and, most importantly, to favour the rehabilitation and the re- integration of the young offender in civil society, responding to an “opportuneness principle”, underpinned by empirical research on the reduction of recidivism. Within the so-called “what works” policy, i.e. the focus on promoting evidence-based practice as a guide to crime prevention policies, the identification of risk management factors and actuarial measures is the ground of the orders delivered by the court. Today, at a European level, interventions and programmes cannot set aside an in-depth evaluation of their efficacy in reducing recidivism. The recent trends in criminal policies have therefore lead to a decline in the treatment and socialization philosophy, in favour of aims of risk-management and prevention-oriented social control. 21
  30. 30. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services Such trends affect the methods employed for the assessment of the young person. Following a broad request to the services in Europe, to carry out an assessment of personality, maturity and personal, familiar, social and environmental circumstances of the young offender, the most innovative procedures and methodologies tend to be precise and standardized (see “ASSET”, the form employed within the juvenile justice services in Great Britain or “BARO”, a similar form used in Holland and in Switzerland), based on actuarial predictive models. In comparison with other European countries, the rehabilitation function is still at the core of the Italian juvenile justice system, even though such intervention philosophy are traditionally less focused on providing evidence of its efficacy. The Italian criminal system is less agile and the proceedings and the criminal provision are both poorly differentiated in relation to the severity of the offence put in place and to the risk of re-offending. Very few Countries in Europe have published, as well as Great Britain and the US, specific guidelines for the assessment and the treatment of young offenders, so that the procedures and the methods put in practice are less formalized. There is a gap in the regulations that results in inconsistency22 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  31. 31. 3. Recent trends in criminal policies in Europe Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment and uncertainty about prescribing when a personality assessment may be requested, by whom, and who is in charge of providing it and the methods actually employed in the work. In countries such as Croatia, social services in the community are in charge of the assessment while in other countries, such as Belgium, Portugal and Spain, social services within the juvenile justice system are appointed. In most European countries there is a clear-cut distinction between civil and criminal juvenile justice: Italy in an exception, as a juvenile judge is competent both in civil and in criminal matters. In Greece the request for an assessment of the young offender tends to address mental health-psychiatric issues, or to involve the assessment of drug abuse. Personality assessment are not compulsorily requested (as they are in Holland, Slovenia, and Italy), and may only be requested in the most severe cases. In Germany, if the youth is attending school or has employment, the personality assessment of the young offender includes the direct involvement of teachers or employers, , in all cases except when the assessment may jeopardize the position. 23
  32. 32. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services In conclusion, the lack of guidelines shared at European level, regarding the assessment of young offenders leads to a variety in the procedures, making them quite difficult to compare.24 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  33. 33. 4. The assessment carried outwithin the Juvenile Justice Services in Italy Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment The staff training centre (Istituto Centrale di Formazione) of the Italian Juvenile Justice Department have studied the way that the personality assessment of the young offender is carried out within a Juvenile Justice setting. Personality assessment is at the core of the work, in the interaction with the court. The reports made by the juvenile justice services testify in the daily practice the assumptions and methodologies of the work, where psychological, social and educational knowledge is combined. Not only are the reports an expression of the understanding of the circumstances of the youth, his family and his environment, they also express what is deemed useful for the court to know. There may be a considerable gap between the knowledge that the juvenile justice services has and what is communication to the court. It is sometimes necessary for the reports to omit some information concerning the crime, so that the trust relationship between the young person and his family is not 25
  34. 34. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services jeopardised. This relationship is crucial to an effective intervention. Omission may also be made in order to leave the court in a position to make an unbiased assessment of the circumstances strictly related to the offence. Such reports, carried out both at the initial stages and throughout the criminal provision, were analysed. The sample included representatives of all services (CPA, USSM, IPM) and locations (in the North, Centre and South of Italy) A total of one-hundred and sixty-eight reports were collected, distributed as follows: • 29 from Rome and Sassari CPAs; 75 from Bolzano, Naples, Rome, Lecce and Turin USSMs; 64 from Milan, Catania and Catanzaro IPMs. • Gender: 85% males 15% female • Age: aged 14-16: 9.4%, aged 16-18: 40%, aged 18-21: 12.5%. • Nationality: Italians: 68.8%; foreigners (31,2%) mostly come from Romania (8.8%) and Morocco (5%). • Offence: 37.5% against property, 20.6% against the person, 16.9% drug- related and 4.4% other.26 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  35. 35. 4. The assessment carried outwithin the Juvenile Justice Services in Italy Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment Half of the reports combine assessments undertaken by more than one professional (social worker, psychologist, educator). Otherwise, it is either the social worker (33%) or the educator (17%) writing the report, rather than the psychologist. The reports were analysed in terms of both the structure (opening, central part, conclusions) and its main contents (description of the young person, the offence, the family, the environment, the intervention, the probation programme). The reports are mostly between 2 to 4 pages. They tend to start with a reference to the offence ascribed (88%). The central part describes the young person and his attitudes and behaviours and the conclusions may include general remarks, with no specific suggestions to the court (46%), suggestions to the court (24.4%) or the description of a detailed programme (17%). Information is collected through interviewing the young person and observing his behaviour in relation to the service or to his family (54%). There is very little reference to tests or questionnaires (5%). A mayor source of information is provided by agencies in the community (89%), residential communities (24,.4%) and schools (18.2%). In the description of the young 27
  36. 36. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services person information on his family, school performance or employment are frequently mentioned, together with a reference to the way the young person behaves in relation to the juvenile justice process. Maturity and fixed traits of behaviours or attitudes (personality) are mentioned in a little less than half of the reports (46%) as is information about the story of the young person, with particular reference to the important events which have occurred in his life. Relationships with peers (38%), liaise time (30%), sexual and friend relationships (15%) are less frequently mentioned. Explicit diagnoses of psychopathologies can be found in only 13% of the reports. The usual style is to report data and information, with no explicit assessment or processing from the professionals’ side, as if the aim is to present the information as objectively as possible. The opinions from the assessing team only become more frequent in cases of references to attitudes of the youth in the relationship to the professionals themselves or the work carried out.. The reports usually start with a reference to the charge. However, within the reports there are no comments about the subjective meaning of the offence,28 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  37. 37. 4. The assessment carried outwithin the Juvenile Justice Services in Italy Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment or the assessment of re-offending risk factors(mentioned in 32% of the reports). The reports contain little reference to judicial precedents or to the assessment of social dangerousness. In 67% of the reports there is an explicit reference to whether the young person acknowledges the offence he is charged with . There is little information about his understanding of the social consequences of the offence, the damage suffered by the victim, the perceived severity of the offence or, the capacity to understand the meaning of the criminal proceedings. Family circumstances and relationships are frequently mentioned (90%), usually describing family members and the socio-economic circumstances of the family, but references to the environment, and the multi-cultural dimension in case of a foreign youth, are rare. Educational styles and the attitudes towards criminal justice can be found in half of the reports; such information is usually just presented and not commented upon. Previous intervention carried out by local social services or juvenile justice services are described in 83% of reports. Information regarding reactions and attitudes of the young person in relation to the criminal proceedings are 29
  38. 38. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services frequently mentioned, but when a probation programme is presented, its objectives are usually not discussed. In conclusion, the reports show a prudence in providing information and interpretations about the personal features of the young persons, which may be in an attempt to avoid interfering with the right to defence. The attention to providing information, without expressing interpretations or evaluations, may also express an implicit trend to appreciate and protect a call for help from the young person, in view of granting in the first place a working alliance with the young person, which is a fundamental pre- requisite for the programme that may follow the assessment phase. The attention to the offence is quite clearly the “social motive” of the intervention carried out within the juvenile justice services. The professionals writing the reports seem very careful not to provide interpretations of the offence and its social and personal meaning. Such attitude probably comes from a culture aimed at protecting the young person from possible stigmatization and exploitation by other professionals. However, research in the field shows that a wider understanding is more useful, aimed at promoting a methodological use of such approaches as a30 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  39. 39. 4. The assessment carried outwithin the Juvenile Justice Services in Italy Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment psyco-socio-pedagogical reading, while avoiding the risk of overlapping with the court. The analysis undertaken opens questions about the way the juvenile justice services interpret the questions posed by the court, how they respond to them, the relationship between information and interpretation and the use of tests and the possible integration between social, educational and psychological knowledge in understanding the young person in relation to his environment. 31
  40. 40. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services32 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  41. 41. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment The role of the psychologist The Juvenile Criminal Procedure Code (dating back to 1988) does not determine set roles and tasks that have to be performed by the psychologists working within the juvenile justice services. The importance of the psychologist is indirectly emphasised in the personality assessment requested by the court, to be carried out in collaboration with other professionals, both in terms of personal resources and shortcomings and of environmental, family and social resources. The current tasks performed by the psychologist within the juvenile justice service may be divided in two areas of intervention, related to different judicial/institutional objectives: 1. Assessment, during the course of the proceedings, of liability to prosecution, social dangerousness and circumstances related to the youth and his environment. 33
  42. 42. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services 2. Support to the young person, both during the criminal proceeding and while serving the sentence. The assessment not only provides information concerning individual, family, environmental and social circumstances, it also specifically addresses circumstances and resources in relation to the actual criminal responses and provisions available. The law seeks professional advise via the assessment of which criminal provisions may be harmful, detrimental or suitable for which personality conditions; which measures, provisions, allocations, decisions may better suit which youths; which levels of containment, detention and control should apply to youths at high risk of fleeing or re-offend etc. . The law requests the psychologist addresses both circumstances and resources of the young youth and circumstances and resources within the environment and the criminal provision. From this perspective, features and shortcomings of the young person are not “data” but rather direct questions, challenges and risks for the judge and the services to consider. From a psychological viewpoint, the assessment may concern: • Risk factors screening e.g. risk for self harming behaviours;34 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  43. 43. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment • Clinical diagnosis, on the basis of a category (e.g. DSM-IV-TR oriented) or dimensional (e.g. personality-oriented) assessment • Risk and needs from a developmental psychology and psychopathology framework; • The degree of maturity and social dangerousness How psychological work is carried out within the juvenile justice services. In 2009 a law transferred health care functions performed within the juvenile justice services to the National Health Service (NHS), affecting the psychologists’ role and assigned tasks. The NHS is in charge of the psychological intervention, while social workers and educators, and police officers, report into the Ministry of Justice. Within assessments, psychologists may consequently focus on a diagnosis, from a “mental health” perspective, leaving the other professionals with the task of addressing risks and concerns such as the environment and development of the young offender. No guidelines have been created to exactly determine how the Juvenile Criminal Procedure Code should be applied. 35
  44. 44. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services A study involving the psychologists working within the juvenile justice services Objectives The purpose of the study was to understand if the psychologists work within the juvenile justice services are satisfied or dissatisfied with the objectives, methods, and tests employed in their work. Collate the knowledge and sentiments of psychologists working within the Italian juvenile justice service could also pave the way for an exchange with colleagues at a European level. A sample of psychologists, either consultant or employed by the NHS, working within the juvenile justice services (CPA, IPM, USSM), from the North, the Centre or the South of Italy were questioned in semi-structured interviews. The interviews included questions about: objectives, methods and tests employed, representations of the task and the professional role, the relationship with the young people and the other professionals. The aim was to gain an understanding of the theoretical backgrounds, difficulties and36 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  45. 45. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment dissatisfactions faced by psychologists working within the juvenile justice services,. Method Thirty psychologists working within the Italian juvenile justice services (CPA, IPM, USSM) were interviewed. Even though the sampling was not random, there was a distribution per work experience, location, type of service, contract (consultant-employee). When the study took place 43 psychologists were employed by the Ministry of Justice (32 directly involved with the young offenders, 11 with other tasks, such as training) and 68 psychologists worked within the Juvenile Justice services as consultants. Table 1. Sample Psychologists 30 (23 F, 7 M) Age 16 (<45 years) 14 (>45 years) Professional 9 psychologists (including 3 specialized in qualification Criminology) 21 psychotherapists Contract 14 employed 16 consultant Service 15 (IPM) 14 (USSM) 37
  46. 46. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services 1 (CPA only, however, some psychologist working in USSM and IPM also work in CPA) Location 14 (North: Milan, Turin, Genoa, Venice, Treviso) 6 (Centre: Bologna, Florence, Rome) 6 (South: Teramo, Naples, Bari, Catanzaro) 4 (Islands: Cagliari, Sassari, Catania) Number of 18 (<10) years in the 12 (>10) Service Number of 16 (<20) working hours 14 (>20) per week The first part of the interview collected information on the professional role (i.e. anagraphic data, professional qualification, contract, number of working hours per month, service they worked in). The second part of the interview focused on the role of the psychologist within the service, with particular regard to personality,risks and need assessment (i.e. areas of assessment, theoretical framework, use of tests, profiles of the young offenders and their problems, perceived efficacy of the work) within the context of a team work (i.e. relationship with other professionals involved, type of collaboration set up and level of integration, possible conflicts).38 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  47. 47. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment Activities The psychologists reported the following three activities: • Personality assessment of the young person and psychological support; • Interviews with the youths parents and meetings with social workers and/or educators working in residential communities; • Team meetings and report drawing. The interviewed psychologists were asked to estimate the percentage of time they dedicated to each activity, to broadly understand how the work is divided. There are no differences in the sample according to the type of service, apart from the higher involvement of the parents in USSM. Table 3. Time per activity (broad estimate) Activity Personality assessment and 60% psychological support Team meetings, report drawing 30% Interviews with parents, meetings with 10% social services/educators Most psychologists reported that the main activity they carry out is personality assessments. The psychological support provided during the 39
  48. 48. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services criminal provision is also highly valued, even though counselling and psychotherapy are not generally considered the focus of the work. All the psychologists interviewed value teamwork and view team meetings as a valuable exchange with the other professionals, during which they aim to gain a shared assessment of the situation and consider a tailored programme. Following team involvement, all psychologists said that they spend a considerable amount of their time within the service writing assessment reports. Psychologists tend not to attend hearings; the relation with the court is often indirect, mediated by the reports and other professionals. The environment-related activities mentioned include interviews with parents and other professionals, mainly those working in the local health services, drug and alcohol provisions and in residential communities. The interviews with the parents are aimed at better assessing the situation. Initially to collecting information about the young person and later to find resources available in the environment. Rarely are parents provided with psychological support.40 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  49. 49. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment The psychologists working in USSM tend to carry out more environment- related work (e.g. Interviews with parents or educators) than those working in IPM and CPA (who tend to split their time between team meetings and clinical work). The clinical work with the young person in general, and the assessment in particular, even though it may be seen as the main activity undertaken, is actually carried out for little more than half of the working time. Only a third of the psychologists interviewed thought that the amount of shared time was adequate and satisfactory. Most thought that it would be advisable to extend the amount of time spent in direct clinical work with the young person, especially providing psychological support (“It would be so much better to have time to support the young person all throughout the criminal provision”), but not to the detriment of teamwork and environment- related work, which were deemed to be equally important. To conclude, the main problem appears to be a lack of time, due to the few human resources available and the inadequate number of working hours. Under such circumstances, some bureaucratic duties are regarded as a 41
  50. 50. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services nuisance, as they steal time from the clinical work (“Bureaucratic duties are an irritation! They steal time from the work with the young people”). The primary task The psychologists reported that their primary task should concern clinical work, i.e. the assessment and the psychological support of the juvenile, combined with the work carried out within the service by the other professionals. The importance of providing an integrated intervention is confirmed by the amount of time reserved for meetings. Some emphasised that the psychologist brings together the professionals within the team (“The psychologist is like a bonding agent for the team”). This is because the psychologist provides a reading of the situation that is different from the social or the educational and is useful for a shared assessment and a tailored programme. Differences can be found in the role of the psychologists, depending on the service they work in. In CPA the psychologists tend to provide assessment, in IPM they tend to assist the young person to deal with the restriction of his or her freedom and promote the proposal for substitutive measures; while42 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  51. 51. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment the psychologists in USSM tend to pursue a treatment aim, by gradually motivating the juvenile who is undertake a probation order. There is a shared opinion that it is possible to combine the objectives of the psychological work with those of the criminal institution, even though it is not always easy. The young offends lack of motivation towards the psychological support may hamper combined work, as it interferes with the construction of a basic trust relationship. Also, the objectives of psychological work may be different from those pursued by the criminal system. The assigned task to provide the court with useful information, in order to deliver a suitable order, may require an in-depth assessment of the youths personality, his developmental needs and resources, possible psycho- pathologies, level of maturity, recidivism risk, availability of treatment and the provision/programme best suiting to the youths circumstances. From a strictly clinical perspective, the psychologist may limit himself to providing information on needs and resources, general elements concerning the youths personality and a sustainable provision, in order to help the judge deliver an order. The psychologist may also define a clinical 43
  52. 52. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services diagnosis, the risk of re-offending and how the programme could be best carried out. A specific issue concerns the difficulty in combining the time of the psychological intervention with that of the criminal provision. The prevailing idea is that the time needed for psychotherapeutic and developmental changes to occur is usually longer than the criminal provision. Only in rare cases is the opposite found i.e. that a prolonged criminal provision may interfere with the developmental needs of the young person. Another issue is the general lack of human resources and time available, preventing the professional from undertaking a sufficiently long and deep assessment and treatment. In some cases the court orders a widening of the assessment, or the young offender is provided with extensive treatment, regardless of the actual shortage of resources available. In the background and , not always explicitly mentioned, is the issue of how definitive the assessment should be, in terms of the diagnosis provided and the recommended programme; and, for its part, to which extend the court should order a specific intervention to be provided (e.g. tests to be44 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  53. 53. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment administered, frequency of treatment sessions), entailing the risk of each part exceeding its competences. Another challenge born out of combining clinical objectives and the tasks assigned by the criminal institution is preserving public security. Public security may necessitate control duties and lead to the extension of pre-trial measures, possibly little syntonic with the youths developmental need for autonomy. On the other hand, the psychologists are only too aware that the compulsory frame of the interventionis actually very helpful, as it provides a framework and a setting, essential to the understanding of the meaning of the offence put in place and, more generally, to increasing the juveniles self-awareness. No significant differences emerged between psychologists working in CPA, USSM or IPM. They all agree, as a general principle, that the psychological work is compatible with the task assigned by the institution, even though a lack of time and a certain effort in liaising with the court’s “language” and demands were emphasised. 45
  54. 54. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services Theoretical frame The psychologists working within the juvenile justice services have different theoretical backgrounds. The study found the psycho-dynamic model was the most popular, while the systemic and the cognitive-behavioural frameworks were also well represented: Table 4. Theoretical frameworks Psycho-dynamic 13 Cognitive- 7 Behavioural Systemic 6 Other 4 It is important to emphasise that beyond the general theoretical background, many psychologists did not mention a specific training in criminology, legal psychology, or developmental psychology.46 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  55. 55. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment Personality assessment The psychologists value both a comprehensive personality assessment of the young offender and an assessment of specific areas related to the criminal setting. For instance, the assessment of the resources available (e.g. In affective, cognitive and relational terms) needs to be considered along with an assessment of impulsiveness and aggression features, the youth’s availability to understanding the meaning of the offence, his motivation to engage in a programme and the psycho pathological risk. While the areas more specifically related to the criminal setting depend upon the service the psychologist works in, the personality assessment in general terms is a shared task. Table 5. Areas of personality assessment Cognitive aspects (e.g. intelligence, cognitive impairment, capacity for self reflection) Affective development Social identity Psycho-pathological risk 47
  56. 56. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services Social background and family Impulsiveness / aggression Self harm Availability for working on the offence Competence to stand trial and to cope with detention Motivation to change and to engage in a programme Availability to treatment Tests The psychologists interviewed tend to rely on the clinical interview; two thirds also use tests. The tests commonly used are listed in table 6. Table. Tests more widely used Semi-structured interviews (SCID II) Questionnaires (Achenbachs YSR e TRF, MMPI) Cognitive tests (WAIS, WISC, Raven Matrixes) Graphic test (D.A.P. Test, F.D.T. test) Projective tests (Rorschach, TAT, Blacky Pictures)48 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  57. 57. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment Other tests mentioned are graphic tests, the Moral Disengagement Test, a test on object relationships, a self report questionnaire named “OSQR”, the Multidimensional Self Concept Scale, a test focusing on anxiety, phobia, depression and hysteria such as the “MQR”, the Facial Action Coding System, the SCL-90-R. While the use of some tests, such as Rorschach is widespread, there appears to be a local culture on the other tests, regardless of the general location or type of service. There was no relationship found between the psychologists’ theoretical backgrounds and tests. Most psychologists tend to use both projective and cognitive tests, regardless of their theoretical background, even though projective tests in general, and the Rorschach test in particular, tend to be used by psychologists with a psycho-dynamic approach. Team work Assessment teams include psychologists, social workers and educators. Some differences emerge in relation to the type of service that takes place. Psychologists working in USSM tend to cooperate most frequently with social workers (sometimes with educators), while psychologists working in IPM and CPA tend to cooperate primarily with educators, and then with 49
  58. 58. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services social workers. The study also found that psychologists work with a range of other professionals including: police officers, cultural mediators, teachers and professionals working in the community. Most interviews reported a general feeling of satisfaction in relation to teamwork, even though difficulties concerning communication, language, reciprocal competences and competitive objectives were mentioned. The interviewed psychologists commonly complained about: the lack of appreciation their role attains from other professionals, excessive discretion in the referrals, and, above all, lack of time and inadequate resources. In this respect, no differences emerge in relation to the type of service and all the issues are equally mentioned. Table 7. Issues involving team work Inadequate resources 13 Little appreciation of the role of the psychologist (no 11 acknowledgement, little team work, discretion in the referrals) Troublesome integration (different language, competences 6 and objectives, role competition)50 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  59. 59. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment Having adequate time available was considered a requirement for an effective integration of the work undertaken. Even though combining competences is highly valued, as it provides a wider understanding of the young person, setting boundaries in competences and roles may result in overlapping and confusion, which is detrimental to the work. Some of the psychologists’ interviewed explained that they perceive a lack of appreciation of their role and function makes it difficult to work with other professionals. The psychologists who expressed this view tend to display more frustration than the rest of the sample. The young offenders The profiles of the young offenders vary according to the type of service the psychologists work in and their location in Italy. While in big cities, such as Milan, psychologists equally work with Italian and foreign young offenders. In smaller cities and in the South of Italy, Italian young offenders tend to be referred, especially in Sardinia, where the work almost exclusively involves Italians. 51
  60. 60. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services In IPM, psychologists tend to work mainly with foreign young offenders, while in USSM and CPA psychologists worked with Italians proportionally to the prevalence of foreigners and Italians within the services. In USSM social workers make referrals to the psychologists for only some of the juveniles undergoing criminal proceedings, those willing to undergo a probation measure. In CPA the psychologist is called by the educator in case of need, mainly for the assessment of Italian young offenders displaying severe issues requiring further and qualified attention. According to the psychologists interviewed, the main problems amongst Italian young offenders are: developmental issues, social privation and mental health disorders. The main problem of foreign young offenders is social privation, relating to the process of immigration and integration within Italy. The study found that commonly identified developmental problems in Italian young offenders were: personality disorders, behavioural problems, poor impulse control, poor tolerance to frustration and substance abuse. The social problems mentioned, common to both Italian and foreign young offenders, were the presence of a multi-problematic social and family52 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  61. 61. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment background (i.e. organized crime, severe economic problems, deviant family culture). The prevalent representation is that getting involved in the criminal system may be the only choice for a foreign young person, given the lack of resources and alternatives available. Crime is seen as a more deliberate choice for Italian young offenders, the outcome of interacting psychological and environmental factors. The Italian young offender is indeed described as more severely disturbed from a psychological and psycho-pathological point of view than the foreign young offender, thus more difficult to treat (a number of such Italian young offenders had undergo various programmes, and failed them all). Dissatisfactions and possible improvements All the psychologists interviewed indicate that the most satisfactory aspect of their work is the relationship with the young people. The clinical relationship with the young offenders seems reassuring in comparison to the wider intervention within the juvenile justice services, which seen at times to be wasteful and undefined. The main problems reported by the psychologists revolve around the institutional setting and include specific issues such as the difficulty in 53
  62. 62. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services teamwork, the fragmented nature of the work, the lack of cohesion in the psychologists group and the shortage of adequate time and resources. The difficulty in combining work taking place in prison with community work, both in terms of the limited availability of the family and the environment, and a shortage in the resources available, is emphasised by IPM professionals. The psychologists commonly feel unsatisfied or ineffective in relation with the environment, rather than in objectives and methods involving the clinical work. The relation with the young offenders himself is not an issue either. Possible improvements are usually related to the organization area. Most psychologists think that the organization of the service may be improved by providing a more systematic coordination in teamwork, within the service (within psychologists, between psychologists, social workers and educators) and external to the service (coordination with the local social services). They also emphasized the importance of having their role appreciated, when sometimes it is perceived as accessory (e.g. the excessive discretion in the referrals, the waste of useful information, the lack of adequate spaces for clinical interviews and the lack of data processing systems). The54 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  63. 63. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment psychologists also requested an increase in the number of working hours, as currently the hours do not adequately cover the various level of intervention. A sense of non belonging to the service appeared to be widespread; the feeling that ones function is deemed accessory, rather than essential. This was in stark contrast to the involvement and the satisfaction the psychologist attained through the assessment and treatment of the young people themselves. Other suggestions for possible improvements entailed the involvement of the family of the young offender and the liaison with the local social services; the provision of group work and more diversified psychological and educational support paths. The perceived efficacy of the psychological work Most psychologists think that their intervention is largely effective. Various meanings may be attached to the word “effective”, falling in two categories: clinical work with the young offenders/team work and rehabilitation in the community. Most psychologists report that an intervention is effective when changes are achieved, even though they may be quite difficult to define. 55
  64. 64. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services The efficacy of the clinical work is rooted in the trust relationship that is established between the psychologist and the young offender in which the young persons needs are addressed. Motivating the young person is reported by many psychologists as proof of the efficacy of the work, as if the acknowledgement of ones problems and need for help were an outcome in themselves, almost regardless of the expected changes to follow. The psychological work should be focused on improving the adolescents self-awareness, his representations, strengths and developmental needs. Another shared view is that the criminal provision stops the young offenders tendency to act out, thus becoming a chance for the young person and his family to pursue both an understanding and to improve individual and social resources, so that developmental impasses may be overcome. Consequently, the encounter with the court is not only seen as a provision of a personality diagnostically oriented assessment but also the chance for the young person to think about himself and becoming more self-aware, which may promote a change in itself, both for the adolescent and for his family.56 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  65. 65. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment During the interviews, the psychologists emphasised the importance of the assessment, in improving the young person’s awareness. The psychologists perceived this function to be more important than providing the court with an extensive personality assessment of the youth, for the court to deliver an order in line with the developmental needs of the young person. A general sense of efficacy was reported through having been able to work in a team, i.e. having come to a shared understanding of the young person and formulated a tailored programme, such as a probation programme. However, it is important to emphasise that not all the psychologists interviewed linked the perceived efficacy of the intervention with a positive outcome on a practical and external level. Many psychologists mention the importance of a personality change, regardless of a positive outcome of the criminal provision, because they think that external and uncontrollable variables, environment-related may affect its outcome. (“The young offender may have done very well therapeutically, even though the outcome of the probation was negative). Sometimes the positive outcome, from a psychological perspective, is not related to recidivism risk. Other psychologists emphasise that the efficacy of 57

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