Juvenile Drug Treatment May Not Be Effective

A new juvenile justice report highlighted in Scott Henson's Grits For Breakfast blog this morning has some startling results on the effectiveness of Texas' juvenile offender treatment programs. The kicker? Drug-addicted Texas Youth Commission inmates who didn't participate in the agency's old chemical dependency treatment program were better off than those who did.

The report found that:

1) Youth in the capital and violent offender treatment program were 71.8% less likely to be rearrested within a year of release than youth who didn't go through the program. They were 20.5% less likely to be reincarcerated within a year.

2) Youth in the sex offender treatment program were 45.3% less likely to be rearrested within one year of release for a violent offense than those who received no treatment. Sex offender youth receiving treatment were 11% less likely to be incarcerated within three years than sex-offender youth who did not go through treatment. (In general, Henson notes, juvenile sex offenders have lower recidivism rates than other offenders.)

But 3) is the big shock. According to Henson, "TYC's old chemical dependency treatment programming can only be categorized as an abysmal failure. Youth who went through CD treatment were 8.9% more likely to be rearrested in the first year, and 12.3% more likely to be incarcerated three years out compared to youth diagnosed with chemical dependency who received no treatment."

It's important to note that the TYC implemented new alcohol and drug treatment programs in 2009, and it's too soon to gauge their performance. I'm sure Henson will keep us updated!

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