In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section School-Based Delinquency Prevention

  • Introduction
  • Introductory Works
  • Textbooks
  • Risk and Protective Factors
  • School-Based Intervention Reviews
  • Evidence-Based Intervention Websites

Related Articles Expand or collapse the "related articles" sectionabout

Forthcoming Articles Expand or collapse the "forthcoming articles" section

  • Rare and Orphan Diseases and Social Work Practice
  • Social Work Practice with Transgender and Gender Expansive Youth
  • Unaccompanied Immigrant and Refugee Children
  • Find more forthcoming articles...


Social Work School-Based Delinquency Prevention
Katherine Montgomery
  • LAST REVIEWED: 27 March 2014
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 March 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0180


The term juvenile delinquency is very broad and encompasses acts that range from status offenses to violent behaviors and are committed by a minor (in most states, a minor is between the ages of 10–17). Specifically, juvenile offenses often fall under four broad categories: status offenses (running away, curfew violations, school truancy, drinking alcohol), substance use offenses (use/sale/distribution of illegal substances), property offenses (breaking and entering, burglary), and violent and persons offenses (actions involving human or animal victims). Juvenile delinquency has substantial consequences for victims, offenders, and for public health in general. As the problem of delinquency has persisted, clinicians, policymakers, and researchers have sought to understand the most effective ways to prevent delinquency. Some of the most effective delinquency prevention programs are school-based and target change in specific risk and protective factors. Since the turn of the century, much attention has been given to the use (and, at times, mandate) of evidence-based interventions (EBIs) to address the psychosocial needs of at-risk youth in the school setting. Additionally, as highlighted in several Oxford Bibliography articles in the Social Work module, social workers espouse that appropriate knowledge and application of EBIs are a necessity. Therefore, this bibliography first provides readers in-depth content that coalesces around defining and informing school-based delinquency prevention and then offers specific EBIs that have been found to impact delinquency risk and protective factors.

Introductory Works

These introductory works span a broad range of resources that inform school-based delinquency prevention. Considered a leading authority on school-based delinquency prevention, Gottfredson 2001 offers the most comprehensive compilation of content on the topic. Although not as comprehensive, two book chapters have been published that offer more-current research on schools and delinquency. Cook, et al. 2010 provides a more robust account of contextual and empirical implications, whereas Gottfredson, et al. 2012 offers a more succinct overview. Germane to prevention science and social work, the Jenson 2010 article provides a thoughtful and thorough introduction and overview of effective prevention of adolescent problem behavior, including delinquency. Because preventing delinquency involves increasing protective factors and decreasing risk factors, interested readers should consult Farrington, et al. 2012 and become familiar with the most current factors that influence offending. The following two entries serve as a good resource for policymakers, clinicians, and researchers. Greenwood 2008 provides a well-informed landscape of the problems associated with delinquency, argues for the urgency to invest in prevention, and describes ways in which to identify the most effective prevention interventions. The Gottfredson, et al. 2004 report on the results of a national study explains factors that contribute to the type and implementation of effective school-based delinquency prevention interventions. Montgomery 2014 provides current evidence on specific school-based EBIs for delinquency prevention. Finally, Domitrovich, et al. 2008 and Homel and Homel 2012 provide important frameworks through which the implementation of effective interventions should be viewed.

  • Cook, Phillip J., Denise C. Gottfredson, and Chongmin Na. 2010. School crime control and prevention. In Crime and justice: A review of research. Vol. 39. Edited by Michael Tonry, 1–150. Chicago: Chicago Press.

    Provides a robust and recent description of delinquency prevention within the school context. Authors include information on contextual frames, definitions, and specific intervention approaches.

  • Domitrovich, Celene E., Catherine P. Bradshaw, Jeanne M. Poduska, et al. 2008. Maximizing the implementation quality of evidence-based preventive interventions in schools: A conceptual framework. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion 1:6–28.

    DOI: 10.1080/1754730X.2008.9715730

    Authors offer a contextual lens through which the implementation of evidence-based interventions (EBIs) in the school setting can be viewed.

  • Farrington, David P., Rolf Loeber, and Maria M. Ttofi. 2012. Risk and protective factors for offending. In The Oxford handbook of crime prevention. Edited by Brandon C. Welsh and David P. Farrington, 46–69. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    Describes current research on some of the key risk and protective factors associated with delinquency.

  • Gottfredson, Denise C. 2001. Schools and delinquency. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

    Gottfredson offers one of the only texts that specifically addresses school-based delinquency prevention.

  • Gottfredson, Denise C., Philip J. Cook, and Chongmin Na. 2012. Schools and prevention. In The Oxford handbook of crime prevention. Edited by Brandon C. Welsh and David P. Farrington, 269–290. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    This is a more succinct chapter that offers updated content on the theoretical frames and empirical evidence that supports school-based delinquency prevention.

  • Gottfredson, Gary D., Denise C. Gottfredson, Ellen R. Czeh, David Cantor, Scott B. Cross, and Irene Hantman. 2004. Toward safe and orderly schools: The national study of delinquency prevention in schools. NIJ 205005. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.

    Reports on the results of a national study and explains factors that contribute to the type and implementation of efficacious school-based delinquency prevention interventions.

  • Greenwood, Peter. 2008. Prevention and intervention programs for juvenile offenders. Future of Children 18:185–210.

    DOI: 10.1353/foc.0.0018

    This is a good article for policymakers that provides cost-benefit content to inform the urgency of delinquency treatment and prevention. In addition it offers content on effective intervention approaches.

  • Homel, Ross, and Peter Homel. 2012. Implementing crime prevention: Good governance and a science of implementation. In The Oxford handbook of crime prevention. Edited by Brandon C. Welsh and David P. Farrington, 423–445. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    Describes the implementation of evidence-based interventions through a criminological lens.

  • Jenson, J. M. 2010. Advances in preventing childhood and adolescent problem behavior. Research on Social Work Practice 20:701–713.

    DOI: 10.1177/1049731509349105

    This article describes a brief history of prevention science and child and adolescent problem behavior, relevant frameworks, and important future directions for social workers.

  • Montgomery, Katherine L. 2014. School-based delinquency prevention. In Juvenile justice sourcebook: Past, present, and future, 2d ed. Edited by Wesley Church, David W. Springer, and Albert R. Roberts. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    Offers a current review of school-based delinquency prevention and some specific evidence-based treatments with strong empirical support.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.