People do not automatically become adults when they reach 18, an age we operationally define as the beginning of adulthood. The actual development into a mature, independent adult occurs well past the 18th birthday. Research reveals that the brain continues to develop into the mid-20s. Cognitive abilities develop more quickly than executive function and psychsocial skills, causing a maturity gap. Young people are more likely to:
The same is true in probation and parole. Adult probation departments commonly prioritize surveillance and compliance over continuing growth and development, which can result in high rates of re-offending and violation in this population.
As state justice systems around the country begin to address these issues, it is clear that there is a need for programming specifically shaped to this particular group. At Phoenix/New Freedom Programming, our experience in creating effective, custom change programming for both juvenile and adults leave us well-suited to assist the creation of outcomes-focused models for use in both residential facilities and probation/parole situations.