Legal News
Popular Strategies Often Fail to Reduce Violence
Psychiatric News
Volume 39 Number 23 page 13-13

An interdisciplinary panel of 13 experts met at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) last month to decide what type of programs prevent youth violence or other risk-taking behaviors, according to an NIH draft conference statement.

The panel found that group detention centers, boot camps, and other" get tough" programs often "do nothing more than provide an opportunity for delinquent youth to negatively influence each other. Similarly, state laws that facilitate the transfer of juveniles to the adult judicial system are often counterproductive, resulting in greater violence among incarcerated youth."

The panel found that in randomized controlled trials, several programs were effective in reducing arrests and out-of-home placements. Common characteristics of the successful programs were a focus on developing social competency skills, a long-term approach, and family involvement.

The panel made several recommendations including the creation of a national population-based violence registry and greater emphasis on economic research into the cost-effectiveness of intervention to prevent violence, the panel's statement noted.

A summary of the report, "Evidence Report on Preventing Violence and Related Health-Risking Social Behaviors in Adolescents," is posted online at<www.ahrq.gov/clinic/epcsums/adolvisum.htm>. The "NIH Conference Statement on Preventing Violence and Related Health-Risking Social Behaviors in Adolescents" is posted online at at<http://consensus.nih.gov/ta/023/youthviolenceDRAFTstatement101504.pdf>.

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