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Review: Get Tough Treatments Do Not Work

Reviewer: Sarah Krantz, Esq.

Article to be Reviewed: Arkowitz, Hal and Lillenfeld, Scott O.; How to Turn Around Troubled Teens, Scientific American, (Nov. 2014) https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-turn-around-troubled-teens/.

Summary

Boot Camp

In 2010, a review of 69 controlled studies found that juvenile boot camp programs has little or no improvement in recidivism.

Scared Straight

In 2003, a meta-analysis of nine controlled studies of Scared Straight programs found that such programs actually increased the likelihood of its participants offending by approximately 60 to 70 percent.

Juvenile Transfer Laws

Laws that allow juveniles to be tried in the adult system actually hurt the juveniles. In 2010, Richard Redding, a psychologist at Chapman University, found that juvenile offenders who were transferred to adult court had higher recidivism rates than juveniles who remained in juvenile court.

Why Are These Programs Failing Our Children?

Research has long showed that punishment-based methods are less effective than reward-based methods in dealing with behavior. Moreover, highly confrontational therapeutic approaches, such as boot camp or scared straight, are rarely found to be effective long term. A 2010 review by criminal justice researcher Paul Klenowski of Clarion University and his collaborators found that delinquency programs that involved confrontational tactics, such as berating children for misbehavior, were less effective than programs that did not use them.

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