Parenting interventions for male young offenders: A review of the evidence on what works

K. Buston*, A. Parkes, H. Thomson, D. Wight, C. Fenton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Approximately one in four incarcerated male young offenders in the UK is an actual or expectant father. This paper reviews evidence on the effectiveness of parenting interventions for male young offenders. We conducted systematic searches across 20 databases and consulted experts. Twelve relevant evaluations were identified: 10 from the UK, of programmes for incarcerated young offenders, and two from the US, of programmes for young parolees. None used experimental methods or included a comparison group. They suggest that participants like the courses, find them useful, and the interventions may improve knowledge about, and attitudes to, parenting. Future interventions should incorporate elements of promising parenting interventions with young fathers in the community, for example, and/or with older incarcerated parents. Young offender fathers have specific developmental, rehabilitative, and contextual needs. Future evaluations should collect longer-term behavioural parent and child outcome data and should use comparison groups and, ideally, randomization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-742
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number3
Early online date8 Nov 2011
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012


  • Evaluations
  • Fatherhood
  • Literature review
  • Parenting interventions
  • Young offenders


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