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Violence Exposure and Health-Related Risk Among African American Adolescent Female Detainees: A Strategy for Reducing Recidivism

NCJ Number
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Volume: 49 Issue: 8 Dated: November-December 2010 Pages: 571-594
Kamilah M. Woodson; Courtney C. Hives; Kathy Sanders-Phillips
Date Published
November 2010
24 pages
This article describes the Holistic Recidivism Reduction Model created for African-American adolescent female detainees who have a history of violence exposure and possess unique needs that must be met in order to successfully prevent recidivism.
Juvenile crime and violent victimization continue to be significant social problems, in that adolescents, females in particular, are likely to participate in health-related risk behaviors as a result of having been victimized or exposed to a violent environment. Specifically, abuse, neglect, sexual molestation, poverty, and witnessing violence are well-known risk factors for the development of trauma-related psychopathology and poor outcomes relative to delinquency, drug and alcohol abuse, and HIV risk behaviors. HIV infection is a common public health concern, disproportionately affecting adolescent African-American female detainees. This unique population has a serious history of violence exposure, which subsequently tends to lead to engaging in risky sexual behaviors, mental health problems, and substance abuse. Also, as a result of little to no intervention, this population is recidivating at an alarming ratea problem that may further exacerbate the expression of health-related risk behaviors among African-American adolescent female detainees. The authors briefly describe a pilot program to be implemented in the juvenile justice system that is based on the model of accumulated risk, Bronfenbrenner's ecological model, and the positive youth justice model. The program proposes to reduce risky sexual behaviors, teach alternatives to abusing substances, treat mental health concerns, and reduce the rate of recidivism through "positive youth development." Tying elements of wraparound services and reeducation together, this program addresses salient concerns that may have an impact on an adolescent detainee's success following their release from prison. (Published Abstract) Table, figure, and references