Adjudicated Youth

Transition Planning for Adjudicated Youth Annotated Bibliography


Prepared for NSTTAC by Robin Parks Ennis, Millicent Carmouche, and Kristine Jolivette, Georgia State University and Jennifer Cease-Cook, University of North Carolina Charlotte


Youth who have been adjudicated face the unique challenge of transitioning from facility to community while also transitioning from adolescence to adulthood (Altschuler & Brash, 2004).  Although many juvenile justice facilities seek to provide effective transition and aftercare services, researchers have demonstrated high levels of recidivism among formerly incarcerated youth.  Because of these high levels, many researchers are seeking to identifying aftercare programs that can be implemented with fidelity to reduce recidivism rates.  Further, many incarcerated youth have disabilities and are eligible for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Improvement Act of 2004.  The purpose of this annotated bibliography is to provide a listing of articles, reports, and other resources published since 1984 examining the issue of transition of youths ages 11-26 from the juvenile justice system. Resources in the bibliography are divided into five categories: Overview of Issues, Promoting Successful Community Transitions, Preventing Recidivism, Youth with Disabilities, and Additional Resources.



Altschuler, D. M., & Brash, R. (2004). Adolescent and teenage offenders confronting the challenges and opportunities of reentry. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 2, 72-87.


Overview of Issues

Abrams, L. S. (2007). From corrections to community. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 44, 31-53.

  • Qualitatively investigated perceived and experienced barriers of 10 youth ages 13 to 19 years who were transitioning from a 12-month therapeutic correctional institution and 6-week transition period (lived in supervised cottages and went to work and/or school during the week and lived at home on the weekends) to their communities
  • Interviews were conducted over 3-6 months.
  • Reported youth prepared themselves for the transition through a variety of logistical tasks and mental preparations such as managing an unsupervised life and not being tempted by opportunities to reengage in crimes by peers
  • Reported youth expressed barriers post-transition including lack of resources to sustain living arrangements, transportation to work and school, and providing for others; made choices to limit the type of involvement with certain peers such as avoiding temptation of poor decisions
  • Reported family support was the most important factor positively impacting their transition
  • Recommended transition programs that are supportive and involve their families to help youth navigate all the influences they may face post-incarceration


Altschuler, D. M., & Armstrong, T. L. (1994). Intensive aftercare for high risk juveniles: Policies and Procedures. Washington, District of Columbia, US: US Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP).

  • Outlined the theoretical framework behind the Intensive Aftercare Program (IAP), including strain, social learning, and social control theories
  • Described the three program elements: organizational structures and characteristics, case management, and management information and program evaluation. Case management is the overarching program component, which includes: assessment and classification, individual case planning, surveillance/service mix, incentives/consequences, and brokerage/linkages
  •  IAP model include nine areas of services provision: (1) residential shelter and transitional services, (2) residential treatment services, (3) residential substance abuse services, (4) residential pregnancy and postpartum services, (5) residential conservation services, (6) day support services, (7) evening support services, (8) psychological and psychiatric services, and (9) nonresidential substance abuse treatment and urinalysis services


Altschuler, D. M., & Armstrong, T. L. (1996). Aftercare not afterthought: Testing the IAP model. Washington, District of Columbia, US: US Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP).

  • Summarized the IAP model, which includes pre-release preparatory planning while incarcerated, structured transition prior to and after community reentry, and long-term reiterative activities
  • Described implementation of IAP model in Colorado, Nevada, New Jersey, and Virginia


Altschuler, D. M., & Armstrong, T. L. (2001). Reintegrating high-risk juvenile offenders into communities: Experiences and prospects. Corrections Management Quarterly, 5, 72-88.

  • Outlined the Intensive Aftercare Program, which includes services provided at the point of commitment, point of release, and successful termination of aftercare in order to facilitate a potentially successful transition from the institution to the community.
  • Described level of implementation of program in Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia.
  • Outlined tangible outcome measures for youth involved in IAP program


Altschuler, D. M., & Armstrong, T. L. (2002). Juvenile corrections and continuity of care in a community context – the evidence and promising directions. Federal Probation, 66, 72-77.

  • Outlined the specific aim of the Intensive Aftercare Program (IAP), an Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention funded program
  • IAP model consists of three phases: (1) institutional services and programming, (2) structured transition experiences, and (3) longer-term support in the community
  • IAP model consists of continuity of five dimensions: (1) control, (2) range of services, (3) service and program content, (4) social environment, and (5) attachment
  • Reports current research base in implementing aftercare programs is currently limited in terms of methodology used as well as integrity of implementation.   However, current research suggests potential effectiveness and future research in this area should be continued


Altschuler, D. M., Armstrong, T. L., & MacKenzie, D. L. (1999). Reintegration, supervised release, and intensive aftercare. Washington, District of Columbia, US: US Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP).

  • Described Intensive Aftercare Program (IAP) model for providing support for adjudicated youth prior to and upon release to reduce recidivism
  • Summarized practices used by five aftercare programs currently being implemented, including: the Philadelphia Intensive Probation Aftercare Program, Juvenile Aftercare in a Maryland Drug Treatment Program, the Skillman Intensive Aftercare Project, the Michigan Nokomis Challenge Program, and the OJJDP’s Intensive Aftercare Program (in Colorado, Nevada, New Jersey, and Virginia)
  • Recommended reform efforts based on current findings from the aforementioned programs. Some of those include careful preparation for aftercare, improved funding, intensive aftercare as opposed to “standard” aftercare, reduction in caseload size and a reintegration model


Altschuler, D. M., & Brash, R. (2004). Adolescent and teenage offenders confronting the challenges and opportunities of reentry. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 2, 72-87.

  • Identified potential challenges of reentry programs, including
    • Reentry within a broader “reintegration” paradigm
    • Mission and purpose of institutional and community corrections
    • Intersection of chronological age and legal status
    • Risk and protective factors
    • Specific domains of reentry
  • Described the seven specific domains of reentry that should be considered: family and living arrangement, peer groups, mental and physical health, education, vocational training and employment, substance abuse, and leisure/avocational interests
  • Noted important consideration youths are facing in two separate and equally important transitions: from youth to adulthood and from life in a correctional facility to community living


Snyder, H. N. (2004). An empirical portrait of the youth reentry population. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 2, 39-55.

  • Evaluated data from Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement and Children in Custody Census, to determine demographic make-up youth participating in the juvenile justice system
    • 88% were male
    • 19% were 14 or younger; 36% were 17 or older
    • 39% where White, 39% where Black, and 17% were Hispanic
    • 38% committed a violent offense, 33% committed a property offense, 11% committed a drug offense, and 5% committed a status offense


Unruh, D., Povenmire-Kirk, T., & Yamamoto, S. (2009).  Perceived barriers and protective factors of juvenile offenders on their developmental pathway to adulthood.  The Journal of Correctional Education 60, 201-224.

  • Explored attitudes of youths about perceived barriers and aids to successful re-entry into the community
  • Discussed the effects of peers, family, community, employment, and independence



Promoting Successful Community Transitions


Ashford, J. B., & Lecroy, C. (1989). Decision-making for juvenile offenders in aftercare. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 39, 47-53.

  • Described the Arizona Juvenile Aftercare Decision Tree, which was formulated in 1987
  • Provided a decision-rule model for making placement and supervision decision for juvenile offenders 
  • Established decision rules for determining the level of community restrictiveness needed
  • Employed a broad range of criteria for making supervision decisions


Bouffard, J. A., & Bergseth, K. J. (2008). The impact of reentry services on juvenile offenders' recidivism. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 6, 295-318.

  • Examined the service delivery, intermediate and short-term recidivism outcomes for youth who participated in a unique juvenile offender reentry program, which was a hybrid of the Intensive aftercare program (IAP) and the serious and violent offender reentry initiative (SVORI) models with youth not receiving reentry services.  The program included a strong mentoring component
  • Resulted in intermediate change and modest effects in reducing recidivism likelihood, as well as time to recidivism


Sontheimer, H., & Goodstein, L. (1993). An evaluation of juvenile intensive aftercare probation: aftercare versus system response effects. Justice Quarterly, 10, 197-227.

  • Evaluated effectiveness of an intensive aftercare program for students receiving probation services following incarceration
  • Results suggested program was effective in reducing the frequency of recidivism, but not the incidence


Fagan, J. A. (1990). Treatment and reintegration of violent juvenile offenders: Experimental results. Justice Quarterly, 7, 233-263.

  • Reported data from Violent Juvenile Offender Program, a series of interventions for chronically violent youth offenders, including reintegration, case management, social learning processes, and a phased program of reentry from secure facilities to intensive supervision in the community
  • Implemented Violent Juvenile Offenders Program with 122 youth in Boston, Detroit, Memphis, and Newark
  • Results showed two sites had stronger implementation of the program and yielded the following results: lower risks of criminal activity, fewer rearrests, and a longer interval until the first arrest


Goodstein, L., & Sontheimer, H. (1997). The implementation of an intensive aftercare program for serious juvenile offenders. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 24, 332-359.

  • Reported results of an intensive aftercare program implemented in Philadelphia with 64 youth receiving treatment and 50 youth serving as a control group
  • Results showed while implementation was variable, with changes in staffing and funding impacting outcomes, the treatment group displayed more successful outcomes post-treatment (e.g., keeping probation appointments, progressing in appointment goals, successful completion of probation)
  • Intensive Aftercare Program (IAP) model provides support for adjudicated youth prior to and upon release to reduce recidivism


Haberman, M., & Quinn, L. M. (1986). The high school re-entry myth: A follow-up study of juveniles released from two correctional high schools in Wisconsin. Journal of Correctional Education, 37, 114-117.

  • Reported results of a 3-year study following youth release from correctional high schools
  • Results included implications for transition practices including the provision of life and work competency training rather than a more traditional high school curriculum


Karez, S. A., Paulson, D. R., & Mayes, W. T. (1985). Abrupt transitions for youths leaving school: Models of interagency cooperation. Techniques, 1, 497-504.

  • Summarized the practices of three programs that have been successful in promoting their youth’s reenrollment in school after leaving juvenile detention facilities


Meisel, J. S. (2001). Relationships and juvenile offenders: The effects of intensive aftercare supervision. The Prison Journal, 81, 206-245.

  • Examined effects of the Intensive Aftercare Demonstration Project on the relationship between youth and service providers
  • Survey instruments were used to measure youth’s perceptions of their relationships with their mentors as compared to controls
  • Results suggested participation in the intervention resulted in positive relationships between youth and mentors.


Spencer, M. B., & Jones-Walker, C. (2004). Interventions and services offered to former juvenile offenders reentering their communities: An analysis of program effectiveness. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 2, 88-97.

  • Included recommendations for effective reentry services, including community-based interventions and functional supports
  • Described need to focus on the individual identity of the student, including role of race/ethnicity and social class. Failure to consider role of these factors may undermine the effectiveness of programs found effective in research
  • Discussed need to consider an individual’s developmental needs using a conceptual framework, such as the Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems Theory.


Stephens, R. D., & Arnette, J. L. (2000). From the courthouse to the schoolhouse: Making successful transitions. Washington, D. C.: U. S. Department of Justice. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

  • Bulletin is a part of a series form the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) Youth Out of the Education Mainstream (YOEM) program initiative
  • Intensive Aftercare Program (IAP) funded by the OJJDP outlines critical elements for successful transition from secure facilities:
    • Risk assessment and classification for establishing [program] eligibility
    • Individual case planning that incorporates a family and community perspective
    • A mix of intensive surveillance and services
    • A balance of incentives and graduated consequences coupled with the imposition of realistic, enforceable conditions
    • Service brokerage, with community resources linked to social networks
    • Reported the most common finding across 20 years of research is that youth who participate in education programs are more likely to be employed upon transition and less likely to return to secure facilities
    • Provides summaries of transition programs from across the country, such as the:
      • Cluster Group Model: New Jersey Gateway Academy
      • Kentucky Youth Assistance Alliance
      • Arizona Department of Corrections: Pathfinder Project
      • The following steps can be taken to promote successful return to the school environment:
        • Curriculum coordination
        • Prerelease information sharing
        • Prerelease visit
        • Admission interview
        • Transitional counseling
        • Violence elimination contracts
        • Plans and curriculum


Young, D. (2004). First count to ten: Innovative and implementation in juvenile reintegration programs. Federal Probation, 68, 70-77.

  • Outlined barriers common to juvenile reintegration programs by evaluating one state’s efforts to implement Intensive Aftercare Program (IAP) and Multidimensional Family Therapy program (MDFT)
  • Conducted 40 discussion groups with staff and supervisors and identified positive and negative attributes of transition models in the following categories: external environment, missing and strategy, leadership, organization culture, structure, management practices, systems, motivation, job/skills match, individual needs and values, and work unit climate

Preventing Recidivism


Ashford, J. B., & Lecroy, C. (1988). Predicting recidivism: An evaluation of the Wisconsin juvenile probation and aftercare risk instrument. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 15, 141-151.

  • Investigated predictive validity of the Wisconsin Juvenile Probation and Aftercare Risk Instrument in predicting recidivism among juvenile offenders
  • Measure contained eight variables and only one, age at first arrest, was a reliable predictor of recidivism.
  • Suggested future researchers should continue to seek to validate measures for assessing risk of recidivism for transitioning juvenile offenders


Bullis, M., & Yovanoff, P. (2002).  Those who do not return: Correlates of the work and school engagement of formerly incarcerated youth who remain in the community. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 2, 66-78.

  • Examined community reintegration of 531 youth from Oregon’s juvenile justice system at six months and one year after exiting
    • 13% of the participants were never engaged at either timepoint.
    • 21% were engaged only at six months after exit.
    • 12% were engaged only one year after exit
    • 54% were engaged at both timepoints.
  • Results indicated services focusing on educational placement and securing employment for youth exiting juvenile justice are helping upon reintegration to the community


Gies, S. V., & Department of Justice (2003).  Juvenile justice bulletin: Aftercare services. Juvenile Justice Practice Series. OJJDP Juvenile Justice Practice Series.

  • Examined aftercare services that provide youth with healthcare, mental health, education, family and vocational services


Neihart, M. (1999).  The treatment of juvenile homicide offenders. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training 36(1), 36-46. 

  • Discussed treatment of juvenile homicide offenders
  • Described use of a three component treatment plan emphasizing trauma recovery, correcting developmental deficits, and dealing with consequences
  • Discussed termination of treatment, aftercare and transition, and prediction of future violence


O’Rourke, T., & Satterfield, C. E. (2005). Think exit at entry. Journal of Correctional Education, 56, 189-194.

  • Described Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Student Transition Program Model, which has four stages: intake review, ongoing assessment, pre-release review, and exit interview. Staff responsibilities and a timeline are included at each stage
  • Reports suggested the transition program model is successful.  Correctional staff report changes in youth attitudes and outcomes are reported


Shand, R. A. (1996). Pre-release/transition: Inmate programs and support upon entry, during incarceration, and after release. Journal of Correctional Education, 47, 20-40.

  • Examined pre-release/transition programs in various states and identified common/essential components with an emphasis in determining appropriate programming for the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Moose Lake (MCF-ML)
  • Recommendations for MCF-ML:
    • Keep a transition specialist who can assist in successful transitions
    • Gain commitment and supports from community resources
    • Develop a mission, vision, and goals for pre-release/transition
    • Determine a organizational structure or identify an institution-run program
    • Develop/coordinate activities, events, and courses among all institutional areas
    • Constantly re-evaluate pre-release/transition program offerings, methods of delivery, available resources, and tracking systems



Youth with Disabilities


Baltodano, H. M., Mathur, S. R., & Rutherford, R. B. (2005).  Transition of incarcerated youth with disabilities across systems and into adulthood.  Exceptionality, 13, 103-124.

  • Defines transition as it applies to youth with disabilities
  • A coordinated set of activities for a juvenile offender, designed within an outcome oriented process, which promotes successful movement from the community to a correctional setting, from one correctional setting to another, or from a correctional setting to post-incarceration activities including public or alternative education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing education, adult services, independent living, or community participation
  • Reviewed intervention and descriptive studies conducted at Arizona State University over a period of 12 years
  • Concentrated on successful and unsuccessful transition plans for youth moving from incarceration to school work and community.


Baltondano, H. M., Platt, D., & Roberts, C. W. (2005).  Transition from secure care to the community: Significant issues for youth in detention. The Journal of Correctional Education, 56, 372-388.

  • Discussed youth attitudes concerning available family support and school support and positive and negative thoughts about post-release outcomes
  • Discussed youth perceived barriers, such as a lack of family and home school support in school, employment, family, and living arrangements
  • Recommendations made by youth to indicated that they needed resources to facilitate a successful transition.  For example, youth felt that employment, counseling, and drug programs would assist in successful transition


Black, T. H., Brush, M. M., Grow, T. S., Hawes, J. H., Henry, D. S., & Hinkle, R. W., Jr. (1996). Natural Bridge Transition Program follow-up study. Journal of Correctional Education, 47, 4-12.

  • Collected student information from parole officers for six months after students’ release from secure facilities
  • Found 33% of youth were enrolled in an educational program, 33% of youth were employed, and 76% had no further court involvement
  • Students who were identified as having special needs and who were drug abusers were more likely to recidivate than others.
  • Results indicated academic and vocational education are efficient methods of reducing recidivism


Brier, N. (1994) Targeted treatment for adjudicated youth with learning disabilities: Effects on recidivism. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 27, 215-222.

  • Reported effects of recidivism during a 24-month period for 73 participants, 85 students not receiving treatment and 34 untreated subjects in a matched group
  • Treatment involved psychosocial, education, and vocational interventions. All intervention procedures were based on a review of literature from the field of learning disabilities
  • Results indicated participants who completed treatment had a significantly lower recidivism rate over 20 months when compared to noncompleters and untreated youth


Briscoe, R. V., & Doyle, J. P. (1996). Aftercare services in juvenile justice: Approaches for providing services for high-risk youth. Preventing School Failure, 40, 73-76.

  • Provided seven recommendations for providing comprehensive aftercare for high-risk youth, which include considerations for mental health services
  • Recommended for services  to be both effective and long-lasting, they must address critical elements such as education, vocational education, training in social, community, and functional skills, and residential care (in transition from more secure facilities)
  • In addition, communication and coordination between programs should be established upon entry into secure facilities


Bullis, M., & Cheney, D. (1999). Vocational and transition interventions for adolescents and young adults with emotional or behavioral disorders. Focus on Exceptional Children, 32, 1-24.

  • Described two models for providing transition services to adjudicated youth with E/BD, Job Designs and Project RENEW.
  • Identified five phases of vocational skills: learning, responsibility, transition, independence, and employable


Bullis, M., & Yovanoff, P. (2006).  Idle hands: Community employment experiences of formerly incarcerated youth.  Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 14, 71-85.

  • Data collected from the Transition Research on Adjudicated Youth in Community Settings (TRACS) longitudinal study conducted with the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA)
  • Explored the link between employment and recidivism during a 12 month period following a youth’s release from the OYA
  • Data showed no significant relationship between employment and reduced recidivism
  • Discussed the necessity to improve employment services provided to recently released youth


Bullis, M., Yovanoff, P., & Havel, E. (2004).  The importance of getting started right: Further examination of the facility to community transition of formerly incarcerated youth.  The Journal of Special Education 38, 80-94.

  • Reported data from Transition Research on Adjudicated Youth in Community Settings (TRACS) longitudinal study conducted with the Oregon Youth Authority
  • Interviewed participants prior to release and every six months after release about perceived barriers to re-entry into the community
  • Discussed the relationship between immediate and continued community engagement and reduced recidivism


Bullis, M., Yovanoff, P., Mueller, G., & Havel, E. (2002). Life on the “Outs” – Examination of the facility-to-community transition of incarcerated youth. Exceptional Children, 69, 7-22.

  • Summarized the results of the Transition Research on Adjudicated Youth in Community Settings (TRACS), a five-year longitudinal study examining the facility-to-community transition for youth in Oregon
  • Results suggested that youth who were employed within six months of leaving secure facilities were more likely to remain engaged and less likely to recidivate
    • Students with disabilities represented 58% of the participants
    • 40% of participants returned to adjudication within 12 months
    • 47% of participants were employed or in school at six months after adjudication
    • 31% of participants were employed or in school at 12 months after adjudication


Clark, H. G., Mathur, S. R., & Helding, B. (2011).  Transition services for juvenile detainees with disabilities: Findings on recidivism.  Education and Treatment of Children, 34, 511-529.

  • Explored the effect of basic transition versus enhanced transition services on the recidivism of youth with disabilities
  • Discussed challenges of community re-entry for adjudicated youths
  • Provided details of an advanced transition model for adjudicated youth with disabilities.
  • Results showed that youths participating in the treatment group had a 64% lower chance of returning to detention at 30 days post release


Clark, H. G., & Unruh, D. (2010).  Transition practices for adjudicated youth with E/BD and related disabilities.  Behavioral Disorders, 36, 43-51.

  • Discussed current gaps in service coordination for adjudicated youth
  • Outlined steps to improve re-entry outcomes through coordination of transition services.
    • Effective Facility Transition
      • Individualized Transition Plans
      • Student Education Records
      • Interagency Linkage and communication
      • Funding and Staff
      • Effective Community Transition
        • Enhanced self regulatory and problem solving skills
        • Competitive employment
        • Flexible education opportunities
        • Social Skills training
        • Family Involvement
  • Discussed community transition
  • Briefly discussed project STAY OUT – Strategies Teaching Young Offenders to Use Transition Skills


Coffey, O. D., & Gemignani, M. G. (1994). Effective practices in juvenile correctional education: A study of the literature and research, 1980-1992. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice. The National Office for Social Responsibility.

  • Summarized literature on effective practice in juvenile justice settings from 1980-1992, analyzing topics of interest
  • Provided 15 best practices based on the review of the literature including
    • Effective transitional services
    • Pre-release educational programs
    • Non-educational support services
    • External resources, such as speaker and mentors
    • Special funding
    • Library access
    • Interagency awareness
    • Interagency agreements
    • Planning and placement decision process
    • Individual education plan
    • Pre-placement planning team
    • Students schedule and placed prior to re-entry to community schools
    • Maintenance of communication between agencies after youth release
    • Adjudicated youth assigned specially trained counselor in public schools
    • Periodic evaluations of transition programs 


Deschenes, E. P., & Greenwood, P. W. (1998). Alternative placements for juvenile offender:        Results from the evaluation of the Nokomis Challenge Program. Journal of Research in        Crime and Delinquency, 3, 267-294.

  • Nokomis Challenge Program is designed as an alternative to extended residential placements, which has significant cost-saving potential
  • Results suggested there were few differences in outcomes between the program and traditional residential placements.  Youth participating in the Nokomis Challenge Program experienced failure more quickly following release, which suggest the need for more intensive aftercare following short-term programs


Griller-Clark, H. (2003). The National Center on Education, Disability, and Juvenile Justice Training Modules. Module #8: Transition services for youth with disabilities in the juvenile justice system.

  • A trainer’s guide available at, which provides guidelines for conducting needs assessments, designing instruction, and evaluating outcomes.


Hagner, D., Malloy, J. M., Mazzone, M. W., & Cormier, G. M. (2008).  Youth with disabilities in the criminal justice system: considerations for transition and rehabilitation planning.  Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders 16, 240-247.

  • Described outcomes of Project RENEW on transitioning youth with detention into the Community
  • Project RENEW uses person-center planning, support for high school completion, career preparation, employment support, interagency coordination, and mentoring
  • Interviews showed positive attitudes about person-centered planning, school completion support, career preparation, interagency coordination and mentorship


Hogan, K. A., Bullock, L. M., & Fritsch, E. J. (2010).  Meeting the transitional needs of incarcerated youth with disabilities.  Journal of Correctional Education, 61, 133-147.

  • Examined transitional needs of youths with developmental delays, learning disabilities, emotional and behavior disorders, and other disability categories


Josi, D. A., & Sechrest, D. K. (1999). A pragmatic approach to parole aftercare: Evaluation of a community reintegration program for high-risk youthful offenders. Justice Quarterly, 16, 51- 80.

  • Evaluated  the reentry program Lifeskills ’95 by comparing 115 youth receiving the intervention with 115 youth in a control group released from the California Youth Authority
  • Results suggested the intervention was highly successful. Notable results include: members of the control group were three times as likely to use illicit substance than the treatment group, 35% of the control group experienced a successful parole compared to 53% of the treatment group, and individuals in the treatment group completed an average of 80% of their parole days and the control group completed an average of 60% of their parole days


Karcz, S. A. (1996). An effectiveness study of the youth reentry specialist (YRS) program for released incarcerated youth with handicapping conditions.  Journal of Correctional Education, 47, 42-46.

  • Evaluated the effectiveness of a youth reentry specialist (YRS) implemented at Lincoln Hills School (LHS), a Wisconsin Division of Corrections institutional school
  •  Program transitioned youth with disabilities from LHS into Special Education units
  • Using a logit approach they compared outcomes for youth who did and did not receive YRS services, and found that special education reentry services are essential for adjudicated youth with disabilities
  • Results showed use of the YRS position was effective in transition youths with disabilities into special education programs


Osgood, D. W., Foster, E. M., & Courtney, M. E. (2010).  Vulnerable populations and the transition to adulthood.  The Future of Children, 20, 209-229. 

  • Discussed perceived failings of services offered to vulnerable populations during the transition to adulthood
  • Service agencies discussed are mental health services, foster care, juvenile justice, and special education
  • Described ideas designed to expand and extend services provided to vulnerable populations from youth into adulthood
    • Increasing funding to involved agencies
    • Coordination across agencies
    • Training on developmental issues for services professionals
    • Introduced ideas to improve services offered
      • Improving existing system
      • Addressing the loss of access to services at age of majority
      • Coordinating today’s multiple systems into a single coherent system


Pollard, R. R., Pollard, C. J., & Meers, G. (1994). Determining effective transition strategies for adjudicated youth with disabilities: A national Delphi study. Journal of Correctional Education, 45, 190-196.

  • Used Delphi research methodology to elicit opinions from a national panel of experts on the major services and strategies for adjudicated youth with disabilities that are most effective, and should be given highest priority
  • Participants identified the following services and strategies (in order of priority), but noted that all were essential and determining rank order was difficult:

1)      Family involvement/support

2)      Social/living skills

3)      Interagency collaboration

4)      Basic academic skills

5)      Assessment/evaluation

6)      Formal transition plan

7)      Community support

8)      Vocational/job search skills

9)      Job placement

10)  Support/ancillary services

11)  Career exploration/education


Pollard, R. R., Pollard, C. J., Rojewski, J., & Meers, G. (1997). Adjudicated youth with disabilities: Transition strategies in correctional environments. Journal of Correctional Education, 48, 127-134.

  • Collected information on the current strategies and services provided to youth with disabilities in correctional settings to promote successful transition
  • Results suggested five themes (11 major areas) that are essential components of transition programs for adjudicated youth with disabilities:
    • Instructional content and focus
    • Career exploration and vocational preparation activities
    • Community involvement and collaboration
    • Family involvement and support
    • Use of a formalized transition plan
  • Results suggested a clear majority of programs provided intervention in three areas:
    • Individualized assessment and evaluation
    • Basic academic skills instruction
    • Social and independent living skills
  • Results suggested barriers to effective transition programs:
    • Returning the youth to the home/neighborhood environment
    • Lack of support personnel and resources
    • Lack of family and community support
    • Interagency collaboration


Sullivan, M. L. (2004). Youth perspectives on the experience of reentry. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 2, 56-71.

  • Recommended certain factors should be considered when planning a youth’s reentry into the community after incarceration, including:
    • Differences in the degree of prior criminal involvement
    • Education
    • Mental Health
    • Nature of the crime committed
    • Continuity and change in social relationships
    • Community of reentry
  • Results showed significant individual variation within each of these factors that may impact the success of a youth’s reentry into the community


Sutton, J. P., & Whittier, K. S. (1989). Transition programs in juvenile corrections: Results of a nationwide survey. Journal of Correctional Education, 40, 162-167.

  • Provided results from a nationwide survey of the current transition practices juvenile justice facilities.
  • Discussed  characteristics and goals of these programs


Todis, B., Bullis, M., Waintrup, M., Schultz, R., & D’Ambrosio, R. (2001). Overcoming the odds: Qualitative examination of resilience among formerly incarcerated adolescents. Exceptional Children, 68, 119-139.

  • Reported results of a 5-year examination of resilience among adolescents transitioning from correctional facilities back into the community
  • Results suggested several implications for practice in transition, including assistance with employment, housing, counseling, and drug treatment.  In addition, transition services should include time with at an adult mentor



Trupin, E. W., Turner, A. P., Stewart, D., & Wood, P. (2004).  Transition planning and recidivism among mentally ill juvenile offenders.  Behavior Sciences and the Law 22, 599-610.

  • Investigated use of community-based services of youth with a mental illness diagnosis after release from detention
  • Data were collected through a review of existing data and post release interviews with youth and family members
  • Indicated youth with mental illness diagnoses rarely (no specific data) utilized available community services


Unruh, D., & Bullis, M. (2005). Female and male juvenile offenders with disabilities: Differences in the barriers to their transition to the community. Behavioral Disorders, 30, 105-117.

  • Used logistic regression to analyze five years of data (background characteristics) for 348 offenders (276 males/72 females) with a mean age of 17+ years who were identified with a special education diagnosis or DSM mental disorder who participated in Project SUPPORT (service utilization to promote positive outcomes in rehabilitation and transition) in which they received pre-release training and coordinated planning through education and/or employment by a transition specialist
  • Reported barriers to transition including the general areas related to person, disability, employment, education, family/social, and criminal history
  • Reported females were more likely than males to have parenting responsibilities, and histories of running away/residential placement, suicidal risks, and physical/emotional abuse
  • Reported females were less likely than males to have a serious learning disability, retained in school, have ADD/ADHD, and unable to maintain a job prior to incarceration
  • Recommended prevention be the focus for young women to prevent escalation of criminal activity; that gender-specific programming be part of the transition planning and implementing; transition start at entry to juvenile justice; and focus on young women to live independently
  • Recommended four aspects to be included in transition: 1) assessment for histories of abuse, suicide, or emotional and behavioral disorders; 2) a plan matched to the assessment results; 3) a strong academic program; and 4) transition prior to release


Unruh, D., Bullis, M., & Yovanoff, P. (2003). Community reintegration outcomes for formerly incarcerated adolescent fathers and nonfathers. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 11, 144-156.

  • Examined data from the Transition Research on Adjudicated Youth in Community Settings (TRACS) on fathers and non-fathers reintegrating in society
  • Identified explanatory factors for successful community reintegration: person-related, family-related, and social context-related
  • Identified community adjustment variables, including: employment, school/training-related, social adjustments, and use of community services
  • Results supported the need for individuals with multiple problem behaviors (delinquency coupled with adolescent fatherhood) are in need of more intensive structure of services that is put into place while the youth is still in the correctional facility


Unruh, D., Gau, J. H., & Waintrup, M. G. (2009).  An exploration of factors reducing recidivism rates of formerly incarcerated youth with disabilities participating in a re-entry intervention.  Journal of Child and Family Studies 18, 284-293.

  • Described Project SUPPORT (Service Utilization to Promote the Positive Rehabilitation and Community Transition)
  • Program provides incarcerated youth with disabilities, with either a designated special education and/or mental health disorder, with pre-release training and coordinated planning to support a program participant’s re-entry and successful community adjustment
  • Described state wide re-entry intervention focusing on lowering the recidivism rates of youths with mental health diagnosis and special education eligibility
  • Results showed recidivism rates increase at 10-24 months as intervention support tapers



Additional Resources

The following resources have information on juvenile justice, as well as resources regarding the transition of youth from secure facilities.

  • American Institutes for Research (AIR)

  • Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ)

  • The National Center on Education, Disability, and Juvenile Justice (EDJJ)

  • National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ)

  • National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice


  • National Criminal Justice Reference Services (NCJRS) Abstracts Database

  • The National Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Children and Youth who are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk (NDTAC)

  • U. S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs



This document was produced under U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs Grant No.  H326J110001.  Marlene Simon-Burroughs served as the project officer.  The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the positions or polices of the Department of Education.  No official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any product, commodity, service or enterprise mentioned in this publication is intended or should be inferred.  This product is public domain.  Authorization to reproduce it in whole or in part is granted.  While permission to reprint this publication is not necessary, the citation should be: National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (2012). Transition Planning for Adjudicated Youth Annotated Bibliography, Charlotte, NC, NSTTAC.

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