Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



After a distinctly punitive era, a period of remarkable reform in juvenile crime regulation has begun. Practical urgency has fueled interest in both crime reduction and research on the prediction and malleability of criminal behavior. In this rapidly changing context, high-risk youth – the small proportion of the population where crime is concentrated – present a conundrum. Research indicates that these are precisely the individuals to intensively treat to maximize crime reduction, but there are both real and imagined barriers to doing so. Institutional placement or criminal court processing can exclude these youths from interventions that would better protect public safety. In this article, we synthesize relevant research to help resolve this challenge in a manner that is consistent with the law’s core principles. In our view, adolescence offers unique opportunities for risk reduction that could (with modifications) be realized in the juvenile justice system in cooperation with other social institutions.


Criminal Law | Juvenile Law | Law | Law Enforcement and Corrections | Science and Technology Law