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Developing a System of Graduated Responses for Youth Supervised by the Juvenile Justice System

Published Dec 1, 2012, CCLP

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Effective juvenile justice systems encourage youth to develop the skills they need for successful transitions to adulthood while also holding them accountable for inappropriate behavior. Research suggests that the best way of promoting compliance with rules and making progress toward goals is to employ a system of graduated sanctions and incentives (together termed “graduated responses”) to respond to youth behavior.

Juvenile probation agencies around the country have used graduated responses to increase consistency in decisionmaking and reduce incarceration and out-of home placements. This guide summarizes the research and key principles behind the use of graduated responses. It also outlines how one agency, the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services in Washington, DC, partnered with the Public Welfare Foundation and the Center for Children’s Law and Policy to develop a model system of graduated responses for committed youth in community-based
placements.


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Models for Change is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.

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