In April 2013 we published an interview with Professor Andrew Day which discussed the importance of rehabilitation for those young people who find themselves involved with the justice system. It pointed to the research evidence that clearly demonstated that good programs, when they are well implemented, can reduce youth re-offending rates by up to 40 per cent. He argued that the most effective programs were those delivered by well-trained and motivated staff who receive good supervision and support.
So, what has changed in offender rehabilitation since that time?
The evidence continues to accumulate that young offender rehabilitation programs can reduce offending behaviour, particularly when they target those who are at high risk of committing further offences. And yet there have also been changes in the last few years in how we think about rehabilitation. We have, for example, begun to move away from a focus on ‘treatment’ programs that view risk as a personality trait that needs to be modified, to more sophisticated approaches that consider how the risk of offending develops over the life of a young person.
We invited Professor Day, now at James Cook University, and his colleague Catia Malvaso at the University of Adelaide to explain how new insights are enabling us to think about and respond to offending by young people more effectively.
You can download their paper here.