Types of Juvenile Rehabilitation Programs

By Yvonne Van Damme
Close-up of smiling young teenager
Close-up of smiling young teenager

Crimes committed by juvenile offenders are prevalent. Due to maturity and age, juvenile offenders are often treated differently than adult offenders. There is more of a focus on rehabilitation rather than just punishment. Juvenile offenders comprised 26 percent of all property crime arrests and 16 percent of all violent crime arrests in 2008, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program. The type of juvenile rehabilitation programs used depends on the resources in the area, and the crime committed by the individual.

Drug Treatment Programs

One common type of juvenile rehabilitation program is drug treatment. Juvenile offenders that are involved in drug crimes may be processed by a different court, a drug court. Completing drug treatment, as well as complying with random drug tests, passing the drug tests, and attending alcoholics anonymous meetings are sentenced by the court. After completing inpatient treatment, ongoing outpatient treatment generally continues for a year or so.

Educational Programs

Educational programs provide youth offenders with a feeling of hope, as well as a path to success. They can see that there are other options out there rather than a life of crime. Education is a fundamental tenant of any juvenile rehabilitation program. This includes the opportunity for the juvenile offender to obtain a GED or a high school diploma. In addition, many facilities allow them to take classes to earn community college credits.

Vocational Training Programs

Vocational training is also often part of rehabilitation, as an additional component to formal education. Part of that training includes an apprenticeship in addition to training. One popular training program teaches building and carpentry skills. Learning a trade can provide a youth with a lot of opportunities outside of a life of crime.

Counseling Programs

Individual and family counseling is an integral part of just about any rehabilitation program. Individual counseling is used as a way to address the concerns and needs of a youth offender. Teens have different hormonal and physiological issues than do adults. Also, they might have lingering issues from childhood they may need to sort out. Family counseling adds another helpful dimension. Family members, as well as the juvenile, are shown ways they can motivate the youth in a positive way. Also, conflict resolution is explored.

Hate Crime Programs

A fairly new advent in the criminal justice field is the creation of programs that focus on hate crimes. The city of Los Angeles has created a program that is aimed towards those that have committed hate crimes. It’s called Juvenile Offenders Learning Tolerance. The goal is to re-educate those youths who have recently committed a hate crime.

About the Author

Yvonne Van Damme is a freelance writer based in Seattle. She has been writing for several years with a focus on criminal justice and legal topics. In addition to various websites, she has been published in several academic journals. Van Damme holds a Bachelor of Arts in law, society and justice and sociology from the University of Washington.