In-Home Programs for Juvenile Delinquents
Jeffrey A. Butts and William H. Barton
This chapter examines the potential role of in-home programs for juvenile delinquents. Such programs hold much unrealized potential for providing cost-effective supervision and rehabilitative services to many young people who are currently placed in more expensive residential programs. This potential should be tapped both at the front end of the juvenile justice system, as alternatives to secure pretrial detention and postadjudicatory incarceration, and at the back end, as an essential aftercare component of residential programs. The kinds of in-home programs to be discussed go beyond regular probation to include more intensive supervision and support services. As in all juvenile corrections, such programs must strive for a balance between protecting the public and rehabilitating juveniles. Such a balance is possible to attain with in-home programs.
We begin with a discussion of the current policy environment in juvenile corrections, one that seems to be returning to a greater reliance on incarceration for juveniles. We argue that such a trend is an ill-conceived "quick fix" that is not supported by the balance of the evidence concerning juvenile delinquency and correctional programs. Our review of this evidence turns up several models of successful community-based programs, many of them home-based. Following brief descriptions of promising in-home programs, we discuss ways in which in-home programs can be incorporated into a comprehensive system of delinquency interventions.
Trends in juvenile justice appear to be cyclical. After a period of intense