In examining the best way to treat a juvenile population, we start by assessing three factors-risk, needs and responsivity.
We can conceptualize risk in the following way:
- Risk levels are determined by examining factors linked to re-offense. Those risk factors can either be static factors that cannot be changed (including age, gender, criminal history and age of first arrest) and dynamic factors that can be change through successful interventions including substance abuse, education deficiencies, antisocial personality patterns and pro-criminal attitudes)
- The next factor to address is need. This is an individualized approach where the possible risks are applied to the juvenile to identify dynamic factors that can be altered. For example, a teen with a substance abuse problem can be put into a treatment program. Likewise, poor family relationships could be addressed through family counseling. Has risk factors increase, so will the amount of interventions needed.
- The third variable in the model is referred to has responsivity. The goal here is to match the interventions to the person’s unique characteristics. We all have a preferred learning style and are motivated by different outcomes. We can conceptualize responsivity has fine tuning the interventions to best fit a specific person. This will maximize treatment and increase the odds of reducing recidivism.
Below are specific factors that should be considered when addressing responsivity:
- Developmental Stage
- IQ/ Cognitive Ability
- Motivation to Change
- Mental Health Disorders
- Cultural Factors
http://www.ccoso.org/library articles/Ward Melser & Yates 2007.pdf
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