This study presents an outcome evaluation of the Value-Based Therapeutic Environment model, a multipurpose, cognitive-behavioral treatment approach for juvenile offenders.
Using a quasi-experimental design, the impact of VBTE treatment on recidivism is assessed for 258 youths, relative to a matched subsample of 258 comparison subjects.
Results indicate that VBTE treatment is an effective intervention for reducing violent recidivism but has no significant effect on property, drug, or public order offenses. Consistent with past research, offender type moderates the impact of treatment. Specifically, 72.8 % of high-risk/need youth in the comparison group had reoffended within a 16-month follow-up period, compared to only 57.5 % of high-risk/need MHC youth, yet there were no significant differences between the treatment and comparison groups among low- and medium-risk/need juveniles. Moreover, the odds of a new violent charge were 49 % lower for high-risk/need MHC youth during the 12 months following MHC-discharge. Supplementary analysis indicates that VBTE participants also showed improvements on value- and skills-based behaviors related to self-image, goal orientation, honesty, empathy, decision-making, and personal development.
Findings of this study suggest that the VBTE model is a promising approach for the treatment of violent behavior among high-risk youth. Implications of the findings are discussed with regard to alternative treatment approaches for juvenile offenders.