Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Teens' Violent Recidivism Drops after Intervention

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Teens' Violent Recidivism Drops after Intervention

Article excerpt

FORT MYERS, FLA. -- Enhancements made to a program for first-time violent adolescent offenders and their parents continue to significantly reduce violence recidivism rates, compared with standard community service, according to a follow-up study.

Teenagers get into body bags before visiting the local morgue with their parents as part of the 14-hour program at the Shands Jacksonville Level I Trauma Center in Florida.

Parents whose teenagers were killed by other adolescents tell participants their stories and share photographs as part of a victim impact panel.

Six weeks of group therapy addresses impulse control, anger management, and self-esteem, another feature of the "Turning Point: Rethinking Violence" initiative.

In addition, each parent and child is given a mental health referral so they will continue treatment after completion of the program.

"The mandated parent involvement and mental health components are essential," Kamela K. Scott, Ph.D., said during an injury prevention session at the annual meeting of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma.

"Juvenile violence is an urban epidemic. Unfortunately, it has become entirely too common in Jacksonville," said Dr. Scott, a psychologist at the University of Florida, Jacksonville.

Researchers assessed the Turning Point program among an initial 38 teenagers (J. Trauma 2002;53:21-7).

Participants had a significantly lower violence recidivism rate in the first year or 5%, compared with 33% for a control group of peers who performed 100 hours of community service.

The researchers found that there was a 9% collective recidivism rate in a follow-up study of 115 program graduates from 2000-2005.

"This is still considerably below the 33% initial control group. The program is effective and the efficacy is sustained over time," Dr. …

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