Key Issues

What are Evidence-Based Practices?
Below are a few of the many resources describing evidence-based practices in juvenile justice:

What are Types of Evidence-Based Programs?

To be Labeled “Evidence-Based,” What Criteria Must a Practice Meet?

Are there Different Levels of Evidence that Can Help Us to Establish Effectiveness?

What Does It Mean to Say a Practice is Effective?

To understand to what extent states currently track recidivism data for youth involved in the juvenile justice system and use that information to inform policy and funding decisions, the Council of State Governments Justice Center, The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Public Safety Performance Project, and the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators surveyed juvenile correctional agencies in all 50 states. This issue brief highlights the key findings of the survey.


What Type of Measurements, Data, and Other Factors are Used in Evaluating Programs?

What are the Benefits of Implementing Evidence-Based Practices?

The benefits and challenges of implementing evidence-based practices are succinctly described in “Evidence Based Practices for Juvenile Justice Reform in Louisiana” and in the Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Collaborative for Change’s website section on “Implementing Evidence-Based Practices.”

How Do We Know What Intervention to Use With a Youth?

Risk, Needs, and Responsivity Principles

How Do We Implement Evidence-Based Practices Effectively?

Are Many States Using Evidence-Based Practices?

Thinking Beyond Evidence-Based Practices

Reform Trends

Using Evidence-Based Treatment Programs

    • Looking for specific treatment programs? See these databases of programs rated for effectiveness:
    • For an in-depth look, see Peter W. Greenwood’s Changing Lives: Delinquency Prevention as Crime-Control Policy (University of Chicago Press, 2006), which analyzes juvenile delinquency prevention programs, identifying those that are evidence-based and those that are ineffective, discussing why ineffective programs sometimes thrive.

Using Evidence-Based Policies and Practices

Evidence-Based Tools for Intervening with Youth

    • The National Council on Crime and Delinquency performed a review of eight different risk assessment instruments as used in ten different jurisdictions.
    • For information on detention risk assessment instruments, go to the help desk run by Annie E. Casey’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI).
    • For a detailed discussion of three risk assessment instruments – the SAVRY (Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth), the EARL (Early Assessment Risk List), and the YLS/CMI (Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory) risk assessment instrument, see this article by Randy Borum in the Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice.

Effective Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices
Below are examples of comprehensive models of implementing evidence-based practices:

Ensuring Evidence-Based Practices Work with Diverse Youth

Promising Policies and Practices

An Evidence-Based Model for Rethinking Juvenile Justice