Developmental Reform in Juvenile Justice: Translating the Science of Adolescent Development to Sustainable Best Practice

Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile JusticeThis brief from the Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice is designed to help state and local jurisdictions incorporate research on adolescent development into their efforts to maximize improved and sustainable youth outcomes and system performance. The brief summarizes key points regarding how adolescents differ from adults in relation to criminal justice, including the difficulty they may have regulating their behavior in emotionally charged contexts and the sensitivity they may have to external influences, such as the presence of peers. The brief then offers recommendations that include focusing on collaborative leadership, increasing family engagement, and using risk and needs assessments and trauma screening.