Date of Conferral


Date of Award

February 2024




Criminal Justice


Daniel Jones


This study explored the lived experiences and perceptions of 10 juvenile justice professionals who had interacted with juvenile offenders and their guardians. This phenomenological qualitative study aimed to examine the outcomes of functional family therapy (FFT) between juvenile offenders and their guardians and their impact on recidivism rates in the National Capital Region portion of the Washington Metropolitan area. The theoretical framework that guided this study was FFT, which focuses on family dynamics and interactions while addressing a youth’s problem behavior. During semi-structured interviews (conducted via Zoom (due to COVID-19 restrictions), participants were asked open-ended questions about their feelings, experiences, and perceptions regarding the effects and impacts of counseling on both juveniles and their guardians. Two themes were identified using an inductive approach: (a) contributing factors to juvenile delinquency and (b) social and family environment. Findings indicated that therapy effectively reduces recidivism rates of juvenile offenders when the juveniles and their guardians are involved. Implications for positive social change include (a) implementing family therapy into the processing of juvenile defendants when they first enter a juvenile corrections facility and when they have been released from the juvenile justice system and (b) educating and providing counseling and therapy resources to assist with the reduction of juvenile recidivism rates.

Included in

Criminology Commons