U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Adolescent and Teenage Offenders Confronting the Challenges and Opportunities of Reentry

NCJ Number
Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice Volume: 2 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2004 Pages: 72-87
David M. Altschuler; Rachel Brash
Date Published
January 2004
16 pages
This article examines the link between the transitions young offenders face as they develop into adulthood and the transitions they experience when re-entering their communities after incarceration.
In juvenile corrections, the term "aftercare" is often used to describe the postrelease community corrections period. The term "reintegration" carries a much broader meaning than the terms "aftercare" and "re-entry." "Reintegration" focuses on offenders and their ability to function within society, as well as offenders' effect on their families, victims, the community at large, public safety, and the corrections system itself. It addresses what occurs both while offenders are incarcerated and when they return to their communities. Regardless of the level or type of reintegration, all programs based on a reintegration model do the following: prepare offenders for re-entry into the specific communities to which they will return; establish the necessary arrangements and linkages with the full range of public-sector and private-sector organizations and individuals in the community that can address known risk and protective factors; and ensure the delivery of prescribed services and supervision in the community. The combination of arrested development typically associated with adolescent offending and the fact that each developmental stage is associated with the mastery of certain tasks and functions not easily achieved in correctional facilities poses a significant impediment for the reintegration of young offenders. The challenge is even greater when an adult corrections system, rather than juvenile corrections, is managing the adolescent offender. Identification of the array of risk and potential protective factors associated with each young offender is the first step toward developing an effective reintegration plan. A number of reintegration programs across the country are attempting to match the level and type of reintegration services provided with the potential for recidivism of each young offender. Effective reintegration programs must address adolescent development in the following areas: family and living arrangements, peer groups, mental and physical health, education, vocational training and employment, substance abuse, and leisure and avocational interests. This article discusses how young offenders' needs might be addressed in each of these areas under a reintegration model. It is imperative that policymakers who are instrumental in forging the policies for institutional and community corrections cooperate in designing and implementing a corrections model for young offenders that addresses developmental needs critical to their positive adjustment in the community upon release. 47 references