Juvenile Delinquency Treatment and Prevention: A Literature Review



Jessica May, Kristina Osmond, Stephen Billick

Psychiatric Quarterly

March 2014






In the last three decades there has been ample research to demonstrate that instituting Multisystemic Therapy for serious juvenile offenders, keeping them in the community with intensive intervention, can significantly reduce recidivism. When there is recidivism, it is less severe than in released incarcerated juveniles. Multisystemic Therapy provides 24 h available parental guidance, family therapy, individual therapy, group therapy, educational support and quite importantly a change of peer group. In New York City, there is the new mandate through the Juvenile Justice Initiative to implement interventions to keep juvenile offenders in the community rather than sending them to be incarcerated. However, this paper aims to examine how teaching prosocial values in early childhood can reduce the incidence of first-time juvenile delinquency. Programs such as the Perry School Project will be discussed to demonstrate that although somewhat expensive, these innovative programs nonetheless are quite cost-effective as the cost to society of adjudication, incarceration and victim damages are significantly greater. Along with teaching prosocial 0020 values, there has been renewed interest in early identification of youth at risk for developing Antisocial Personality Disorder. An update is given on the status of both promising approaches in early intervention to prevent serious juvenile delinquency and hence adult criminality.