Download Full Text (250 KB)


Research has shown that current legal policies of transfer of juveniles to adult court, harsh sentences, and intimidating educational programs do not 5 deter youthful crime. This study reports on a nonconfrontational pilot education program in the US juvenile justice system. In three urban high schools, an eight-week researcher-designed curriculum was delivered to three intervention classes totaling 125 at-risk students and three control classes totaling 100 at-risk students. Teachers in both groups administered 10 pretest and posttest surveys. Descriptive statistics showed substantial knowledge gains for the intervention group, from 14.2 to 35.7% in all subdomains, and −7.2 to 21.4% gains for the control group. Chi-square analysis showed that the intervention group significantly increased knowledge and understanding of the US juvenile justice system in two of the six curriculum 15 subdomains. The intervention group also significantly increased perceptions of fairness of the juvenile justice system. This program can serve as a model curriculum for at-risk high school youth.

Publication Date



Criminology and Criminal Justice | Secondary Education

Juvenile Justice Education for At-Risk High School Youth